Can gamification solve fashion’s mix and match challenges?

Source: Trendage
Mar 30, 2018
Tom Ryan

A new startup has developed a “styling game” that claims to not only solve the challenge consumers face finding items that pair well together but feeds cross-sell recommendations to retailers as well.

Trendage’s insights are powered by its game app, Style Challenge, which enlists millions of community members to determine which clothes, accessories and shoes from leading brands match, building various outfit combinations on a virtual model that are shared and rated by the Trendage community.

“The game is immensely addicting and a fun way for shoppers to discover new products online in an engaging manner,” according to Trendage’s press release. In January, Trendage’s community created more than three million customized outfits.

The application uses machine learning to automatically generate data that helps customers “complete the look” based on the choices of its community.

For Women’s Wear Daily, Adriana Lee wrote, “It’s easy to see how this model can yield a windfall of style and preference data — both in how the fashion gamers mix and match items and how the community responds to different combinations or themes.”

Trendage also identified 216 core body types for shoppers and will enable users to create their personal avatars that will virtually try on clothes for them to improve sizing accuracy.

For retailers, the recommendations are designed to help personalize product pages and e-mail marketing campaigns with frequently paired items within a shopper’s age and region. Consumers could gain confidence to order more items and are expected to reduce their returns.

A key selling point is Trendage’s argument that gamification delivers more accurate feedback than surveys and other sources.

In a statement, Vineet Chaudhary, CEO of Trendage, said the challenge with utilizing data collected from website views, e-mail campaigns, sale and return data is that it is often not available until it is too late to influence a shopper’s decision.

“By the time the data is ready, the season and trends have changed,” said Mr. Chaudhary. “Trendage gathers all the same data without ever having to touch a single item of clothing, or receive a return, giving retailers an important time advantage of leveraging current trends just when they need it most: at the point of sale while customers are making critical purchasing decisions.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is gamification combined with crowdsourcing a promising tool for predicting style trends and unearthing cross-sell recommendations? Is the quality of data gleaned from gamification likely more accurate and timely than other sources? What do you think of Trendage?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
"We are in an age of connecting and engagement. If gamification adds value and customers play consistently, it may have potential."
"Meal preparation, entertainment and vacation planning via gamification must be around the corner."
"I have seen some game successes in terms of the game itself, but I haven’t seen any sales propelled. "

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10 Comments on "Can gamification solve fashion’s mix and match challenges?"

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Chris Petersen, PhD.

This app appears to be primarily targeted for women. Men probably need it more, but would not easily give up their sports and other combatant games.

We are in an age of connecting and engagement. If gamification adds value and customers play consistently, it may have potential. However, it is yet another app that must compete for space and time on consumers’ phones. Unless the actual players are representative of the target segments, the trend data might not be as accurate as hoped.

Women are the heaviest users of Pinterest and Instagram. Retailers such as Nordstrom have found that what women prefer and purchase can be found in their pins and posts.

Frank Riso

When the current and next generation of shoppers shop they use their phones. They use their phones for just about everything, so gamification is the extension of their phones and in their comfort zone. Combine that with crowdsourcing and you have the ideal way for style trends which leads to higher sales. Any and all data when used in this manner is good for both the retailer and the customers but it can only be as accurate as the input by the shoppers themselves.

Trendage may be the first but not the last of the solutions to meet the style needs of today’s consumer. Meal preparation, entertainment and vacation planning via gamification must be around the corner.

Dave Nixon

Gamification is a great way to gather data for predicting trends and behaviors.
To be more successful with this idea, I would recommend that the retailers and fashion brands integrate the app functionality of gamification into their own digital experience to more effectively leverage the preference, trend and cross-sell benefits. It is separated from the actual retail experience which creates a break in the path to purchase.

Gene Detroyer

I have been watching the gamification ideas for years. They are focused on the customer or potential customer interaction and they all boast how they will propel sales.

I have seen some game successes in terms of the game itself, but I haven’t seen any sales propelled. (The successes I have seen generally have to do with behavior change.) But the one thing that seems to be consistent is that they are short lived. If the game is interesting there is a spike in use, but after a period of time it wanes. I see this as exactly the same phenomenon.

Cate Trotter

In terms of data, gamification could give retailers better results as customers are likely to be less conscious of their choices. They’re just putting together clothing combinations that they like, based on their own personality, style, etc., which they do automatically. Whereas there may be more conscious choice making happening when completing surveys (and even self-editing of their answers) which can create results that aren’t a true representation of the customer’s thoughts, etc. I’m sure there are opportunities for Trendage — customers may well get more inspiration in their outfit choices and that could lead to other sales — but I wonder if a fashion retailer would prefer to build the idea/tech into their own app or website? It might work well for a shopping mall with multiple fashion retailers as well.

Sterling Hawkins

Gamification alone isn’t enough, but where it adds to or enhances the customer experience is a win. I’m with Vineet; that website and return data is too late. If this is a tool that consumers are finding value in and at the same time provides valuable data before purchases I can see it working for all involved.

Cynthia Holcomb

Trendage sounds like a fun shopping game to explore new outfits or new ways of putting current trends/items together in different outfits, possibly providing merchants and design teams ideas for how to merchandise current inventory in new ways. Like Pinterest, a one-dimensional viewpoint enabling aspiration and inspiration playing with product visuals.

Unfortunately, we humans wear clothes on our bodies, a 3-D experience. Almost all apparel returns are due to individual preference issues of fit, look and feel factors. Avatars, core body types, etc. are one-dimensional, linear visuals unable to calculate completely subjective, individual sensory preferences.

Trendage sounds fun, but misses the boat in the promised windfall of style and preference data to enable a retailer to make a sensory-preference based product recommendation to an individual shopper.

Ken Morris
Ken Morris
Managing Partner Cambridge Retail Advisors
2 years 5 months ago

This is an excellent example of using AI to improve the customer experience and merchandise planning. Gamification makes it entertaining for consumers, especially for Millennials and younger generations, which increases engagement and the likelihood that they act on the recommendations generated by AI.

Gathering a wealth of fashion opinions from consumers will also help planners identify new trends, which will enhance decisions for new product commitments and local assortments.

This information will be critical to consumers as well who are fashion challenged (like I am and probably 50% of the population), those who are color blind (4.5% of men and .5% of women) or to be more politically correct color vision deficiency or CVD. Today stripes go with checks that one would never wear in the past but this service will help us curate our wardrobes and gives us all a fashion forward nudge.

Ricardo Belmar
Is this really a question about the success of gamification or the use of AI to interpret the resulting data? Gamification alone is a means to an end and can be a double-edged sword. Gamification’s ultimate purpose is to make an otherwise mundane process, fun. So fun, in fact, that the user no longer realizes they’re playing a game or learning something new — they just like doing it so it becomes second nature. It’s a wonderful tool for training and learning, but as Gene Detroyer points out, there is little evidence yet of sales success. I think the real story here is the application of AI to further develop the game users abilities that may ultimately result in a sale. I’m reminded of the Alibaba presentation at January’s NRF Big Show, where the presenter said: “You can sell anything if you make it fun.” I can’t think of a better pitch for gamification! Of course, this is why we get Ford car sales kiosks in China now! (Which should be a topic for discussion… Read more »
Kenny Younts

It is. We built a product a few years back that worked with smaller retailers trying similar things, less successfully than Trendage, unfortunately.

I think Trendage and other apps that do similar things — turn play and social into psychographic details during discovery and awareness phase of customer interaction — can be really insightful. And it’s fun!

"We are in an age of connecting and engagement. If gamification adds value and customers play consistently, it may have potential."
"Meal preparation, entertainment and vacation planning via gamification must be around the corner."
"I have seen some game successes in terms of the game itself, but I haven’t seen any sales propelled. "

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