Guess Inc. has joined forces with China-based e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. on a new store in Hong Kong, promising features that will make it unlike any of its other 1,600 or so brick-and-mortar stores around the world.
Downtown-based Guess will tie into Alibaba’s Fashion AI project, which uses artificial intelligence as part of a consumer experience that comes with “smart” racks, mirrors and fitting rooms.
Guess is a 37-year-old fashion brand with about $2.4 billion in annual revenue.
Alibaba started in 1999, and now has annual revenue of about $250 million. It’s presence in China is on par with Amazon.com’s presence in the U.S. market.
Product tags in the Guess store in Hong Kong chosen for the AI Project will be able to communicate with the tech-enabled mirrors next to clothing racks and in fitting rooms, showing customers options on color, sizes, availability in other stores, etc., a spokeswoman from Alibaba’s L.A. office said.
“Guess is the first global retail partner we’ve worked with to implement the store concept,” the spokeswoman said.
Alibaba’s AI tech can “learn” the latest fashion trends and tips from analysis of data generated by the company’s own e-commerce platforms, the spokeswoman said. The proprietary model behind the technology is based on insights drawn from images of more than 500,000 outfits put together on Taobao, a customer-to-customer platform of Alibaba’s that functions like ebay Inc.’s. Alibaba also can mine customer data from Tmall, its online store for brands.
Guess could not immediately comment on the link with Alibaba.
The tech features in the Hong Kong store might be a first for Guess, but companies such as El Segundo-based TechStyle have similar store concepts already in place. TechStyle’s brick-and-mortar stores serve as high-tech, data-gathering and tracking tools, Anton Von Reuden, the company’s chief operating officer, told the Business Journal earlier this year. Shoppers in stores of TechStyle brand Fabletics, for example, must first scan items before trying them on, enabling the company to track whether the item is ultimately purchased or not.
Alibaba’s spokeswoman said that the Guess Hong Kong store concept wasn’t designed to collect data.
“We already have that,” she said. “This store is the result of data analysis to what would serve customers best. We already have information on what customers are buying.”
Food Distributor for PE Firm
Brentwood-based private equity firm Highview Capital announced earlier this month its acquisition of food distributor Good Source Solutions in Carlsbad.
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