IBM is working on a ‘smart mirror’ technology for offline retailers. The company announced its plans to collaborate with Vero Moda’s stores. By the looks of it, this is just the beginning. IBM is likely to tie up with more offline retailers in the near future.
IBM’s smart mirror technology is a digital interface which empowers customers to try out a wide variety of choices. Think of these as virtual fitting rooms, which are driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI). The smart mirror technology would provide feedbacks to customers in the form of new suggestions and compliments.
According to Kamal Singhani, the managing partner of IBM’s India division is very optimistic about the technology. He said, IBM aims to drive more footfalls towards sales through the technology. In order to do so, we will analyze multiple sources and predict future trends for customers. He believes the technology will be the difference between the new-age customers and offline retailers.
According to Mr. Singhani, currently nearly 50% of the merchandise is marked down. Hence, there is a scope for huge improvement for offline retailers. With the new AI technology and smart mirrors, retailers can understand the problems with unsold merchandise and catch up with new fashion trends.
Oh Mirror Oh Mirror – Am I late to the Party Already?
The technology promises excitement and is likely to create a buzz in retail. However, its timing is also worth noting. Today, giants in e-commerce businesses are consolidating supply to increase margins. Some large retailers have their own subsidy companies which retail everything from phones to earrings.
Additionally, there seems to be no ways about where the young generation is shopping at. Increasingly people prefer the convenience and cost-effectiveness of online stores such as Flipkart and Amazon to shop. According to Forrester’s Online Retail forecast, E-commerce companies will register 29% growth over the next five years.
The technology can promise a breakthrough in many ways. However, the real question is – is it too late to the game?