Yoox Used Artificial Intelligence to Design Its First Private-Label Collection

The retailer combed social media and analyzed its customers' preferences to create 8 by Yoox, launching on Tuesday.
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8 by Yoox. Photo: Courtesy of Yoox

8 by Yoox. Photo: Courtesy of Yoox

Private (or "in-house") labels can be big moneymakers for multi-brand retailers: By selling directly to their own shoppers, they can rake in higher profit margins while keeping prices within a range they know their customers are willing to pay. Retailers can also use them to fill in gaps in their product offerings, and they have a wealth of data of about customers' preferences to pull from during the design process.

Yoox is taking the data-driven approach one step further with its first-ever private label 8 by Yoox, launching online on Tuesday. In conceptualizing the line, the Italian e-commerce platform, which otherwise sells discounted past-season luxury items, used artificial intelligence as its starting point. With its own proprietary AI tools, it combed fashion content across social media and fashion sites in key markets. It also looked at "predictive indicators" of trends that are only beginning to emerge, and analyzed data from products sold on the site, customer feedback, industry buying trends and top trend searches.

8 by Yoox. Photo: Courtesy of Yoox

8 by Yoox. Photo: Courtesy of Yoox

All of those insights were gathered to create a mood board for Yoox's design team to reference, and the resulting collection of "contemporary essentials" features items that "represent long term trends instead of seasonal trends at an affordable price," per a press release. The debut collection is pretty massive, comprising ready-to-wear, accessories and shoes for both men and women ranging from $29 to $979. Many of the items are everyday, classic wardrobe staples like T-shirts, wool sweaters, sleek outerwear, simple trousers, understated handbags and knee-high boots, but several pieces also have more interesting, trend-driven design details, whether it's a dramatic sleeve or a quirky print. It would be a good resource for someone looking to round out their work wardrobe, or buy a quality, versatile fall blazer.

Like many of its competitors, Yoox says it's always exploring new ways to use artificial intelligence to enhance the customer experience. Many online retailers are using it to personalize the browsing experience for consumers, for instance, with some of them even creating "bot" sales associates or stylists to help shoppers find what they're looking for.

8 by Yoox. Photo: Courtesy of Yoox

8 by Yoox. Photo: Courtesy of Yoox

That Yoox decided to launch an in-house line isn't too surprising, either, and not just because it has 18 years of business to pull data from. Yoox Net-a-Porter executives have boasted about the success of Mr P, Mr Porter's in-house line, which surely prompted them to start thinking of ways to repeat it. Last July, YNAP announced its goal for private labels to account for about 10 percent of off-season net sales by 2020.

The Outnet, Matchesfashion.com, Barneys, Need Supply and even Amazon are among the many other retailers with their own private labels. As AI technology continues to advance, you can bet they'll be using it to get an even more accurate read on what their shoppers really want.

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