Introducing AI-driven fashion e-commerce to S E Asia

ZALORA is introducing its proprietary integration of OpenAI technology into its platform to create more immersive and conversational online shopping experiences.

The last few years have been an exciting time for online shopping. Today, buying an outfit online isn’t just about typing keywords into a search bar, it’s about having a conversation with a virtual shopping assistant about what you need or having a brand you love understand what you like and share recommendations.

As part of Global Fashion Group, ZALORA intends to bring this retail revolution to Southeast Asia, 

by introducing TITAN, its proprietary integration of OpenAI technology, into its platform to create more immersive and conversational online shopping experiences and data-driven recommendations.

What does this AI-driven transformation mean for the 8.5 million online shoppers in the region? 

Customers are often looking for inspiration rather than a specific product. Using OpenAI, ZALORA can ask customers questions such as “When is the wedding?” or “What color are your shoes?” and provide customers with curated recommendations, replicating the experience of talking to a shop assistant in a brick-and-mortar store.

In addition, ZALORA is using OpenAI to enhance traditional search by improving the platform’s ability to understand different ways customers might spell or type their search terms, even if there are mistakes. This allows ZALORA to find the exact product the customer is looking for or suggest similar options, making the shopping experience easier and more valuable.

Sumit Jain, Chief Technology Officer, ZALORA, said: “By building on OpenAI technology through our proprietary platform, TITAN, we intend to lead fashion e-commerce innovation in maintaining a safe and seamless experience for customers and taking the online shopping experience to the next level.”

Ushering a new era of tech innovation for ecommerce to stay ahead of the curve

The introduction of TITAN comes alongside a series of new tech advancements slated to roll out this year. This represents ZALORA’s continued commitment to being a leader in fashion ecommerce, and the importance of integrating the latest technologies such as generative AI across its retail and back-end functions. The first set of areas being powered by TITAN include:

    • Smart Search Discovery: Small but powerful improvements to our existing search experience that will allow customers to find what they are looking for more quickly and easily which leads to better customer experience
    • Conversational Shopping Assistant: The future of ecommerce experiences, reimagining how customers browse and shop with smart prompts and improved real time interactive features as you shop on ZALORA
    • Production Automation: Emerging technology unlocking automation across different functions and improving employee productivity gains
    • Internal Chatbots: Improved employee experience and productivity, by providing Business Intelligence chatbots, knowledge bases, and allowing basic system actions to be taken through conversational UI

Gunjan Soni, ZALORA CEO and Global Fashion Group COO said: “With a history of innovations under our belt we are excited to embrace the future with Generative AI and leverage it to deliver the best ‘tailored for fashion’ e-commerce experience for our customers both during and post-purchase.

With TITAN we will once again be the first in the region to offer these innovations to our growing loyal base.”

TITAN will also serve as a gateway for ZALORA and its parent company, Global Fashion Group, to scale new heights in Southeast Asia and replicate this technology across the Group’s different regions, in Latin America, Australia and New Zealand.

Reimagining the Online Shopping Experience with Generative AI

Pulling on the ZALORA’s deep understanding of the region, its 55+ million customer base, and emerging technologies, the company is in the early phases of development for our Conversational Shopping Assistant planned to launch in late 2023. In doing this, ZALORA will reimagine how customers browse, become inspired, and how they shop online.

Driving Operational Excellence through Tech Innovation

To further boost its operational efficiency, ZALORA is using OpenAI not only for customer experience innovation, but to solve real business challenges. Notably, the automation of production services with tagging of product attributes – such as colour, pattern, or sleeve length – and automatically generated SKUs with comprehensive product descriptions will substantially improve search accuracy, reduce hundreds of hours of manual entry, dependency on third parties, and result in improved customer experience.

ZALORA is also in the initial planning stages of integrating advanced OpenAI into its in-house Warehouse Management System (WMS) for planning, forecasting, and picking algorithms. Early experiments have seen an improvement of 30-50% in forecasting accuracy, allowing ZALORA to continue with the exceptional delivery experience the company is known for in a more efficient and profitable manner. Enhancements planned will revolutionise ZALORA’s whole fulfilment process and its updated WMS will also be adopted by other e-commerce platforms within GFG, such as ANZ-based The Iconic, to provide significant efficiencies at a group level.

Furthermore, using generative AI, ZALORA can develop and improve a smarter customer service, where the platform will be able to answer customer questions and resolve issues automatically, as it understands customer needs and provides personalised responses. This will free up human customer service agents to focus on more complex tasks, and it will also improve the customer experience.

A Culture of Creative innovation

ZALORA is known for its culture of innovation, especially within its Technology team. This culture was recently on display at a 32-hour hackathon, where over 70 participants from 13 teams came together to solve real business and customer challenges with AI technologies. The hackathon produced working prototypes and ideas for virtual shopping assistants, internal business intelligence chatbots, automated returns defect detection, and much more. All of which are planned into ZALORA’s H2 2023 Technology roadmap.

ZALORA’s drive to innovate is paired with the responsibility to safeguard the millions of customers it serves, as well as their personal data. The company is committed to using AI and TITAN in a responsible way, having developed a series of principles to guide responsible innovation, and implementing several measures to protect customers’ data. In fact, ZALORA is consistently listed as best in class in the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore’s quarterly ranking of internet hygiene rating indicating that ZALORA adopted the highest level of adoption of internet security best practices.

Sumit Jain, Chief Technology Officer, ZALORA said:

““ZALORA is excited to leverage the potential of OpenAI via TITAN, our AI platform, to reimagine eCommerce and create a truly ‘wow’ customer experience. The future of retail will be driven by technology innovation, and the extent to which we prioritise ensuring a safe and seamless experience for customers. By building on OpenAI technology through our proprietary platform, TITAN, we intend to lead Fashion E-commerce innovation in maintaining a safe and seamless experience for customers and taking the online shopping experience to the next level.”