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If you entered fashion to be creative, don't fear automation

Luke McKeever

Until recently, technology and fashion and may not have seemed natural bedfellows, and yet today, from design to marketing, from production to distribution, technology is influencing every facet of our industry.

One of the last bastions of an older, manual model was online merchandising – allowing ‘intelligent’ analytic models, powered by real-time data to augment human, creative inspiration. It is now key to increasing customer engagement and ultimately sales.

As online marketers we want to create memorable and distinctive experiences for people. Today’s retail websites must emulate the rich, vivid and guided experience of shopping for fashion in-store – providing excitement and inspiration seamlessly blended with ease and speed.

The role of visual merchandising, supported by intelligent search and personalization has become absolutely central to the success of this dream journey. As technology and analytics (automation) get faster and more powerful, online fashion retail enters the world of AI (artificial intelligence). This has incredible scope to accelerate and enhance visual merchandising by applying large data sets to understand and predict patterns – while making recommendations that shoppers actually want or even discover they want.

If you entered the fashion industry to seek creative aspirations, then don’t fear the onward march of automation, algorithms and data. The machines are there to do the heavy-lifting, leaving you with boundless opportunities to exercise your creative muscles. Shoppers are human, full of wonderful idiosyncrasies and quirks; we look for inspiration, an emotional connection and social validation. Therefore, memorable and distinctive online experiences ultimately need to be directed by human creativity. AI is there to offer you near-limitless creative opportunity.

We explore all of these themes further in our , which investigates how and where automation is supporting creativity in fashion.  

Luke McKeever is CEO of  

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