Will a new shopping platform redefine the formula for AI-driven personalization?

Source: shoptrue.com
Nov 23, 2022

Founded by Romney Evans, True Fit’s co-founder, a new shopping platform, Shoptrue, launched in beta last week with a goal of blending “human inspiration” and data science to build a “one stop personal shop, curated for you and by you.”

Similar to other personalized e-commerce sites such as Stitch Fix, Shoptrue’s users first take a quiz to establish baseline preferences about their style personality, favorite brands and color preferences. The site then presents an initial set of curated recommendations, as well as editorial content mapped to their interests.

The platform, backed by artificial intelligence (AI), continually learns and improves selections based on interactions, “so that over time, the user’s outcomes and content will feel increasingly individualized,” according to a press release.

In a distinction from other AI-driven personal recommendation engines that also include versions from Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Farfetch, Shoptrue will be able to pre-filter size and fit specifications to ensure shoppers only see products available in their preferred sizing.

Shoptrue also invites users to join the “discovery process” to further fine tune selections. Users are encouraged to build Shops (collections) reflective of their preferred fashions and style point of view (either publicly or privately) as well as to seek out ideas and product recommendations from stylists, influencers and peers with the option to follow and be followed.

Mr. Evans told TechCrunch, “Instead of being a top-down recommendation system, where the user is passive, it’s putting the user in the driver’s seat, back into personalization, giving them the controls.”

For brands and retailers, the platform promises a “new audience of relevant customers,” increased loyalty by better matchmaking products to customer likes, and fewer returns.

The site will exit beta in Q1 2023 when tastemaker and peer-generated Shops will be rolled out.

Andrew Lipsman, principal analyst for retail and e-commerce at Insider Intelligence, told Modern Retail that the biggest hurdle Shoptrue may face is overcoming a reluctance to try the service due to shortcomings seen previously in the algorithmic shopping space. He said, ”Fashion shoppers may be skeptical that this iteration is the one that finally cracks the code.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think of Shoptrue’s personalized recommendation platform that combines AI-driven algorithms with shopper and tastemaker input? Is algorithmic shopping making progress or is it failing to live up to its hype?

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"Something has to change about the challenge that shopping online has become, and maybe Shoptrue is a step in that direction."

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10 Comments on "Will a new shopping platform redefine the formula for AI-driven personalization?"

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Michael La Kier

The dual issue of shopping is one we all love to explore but we want it to be easy. If this new site and its embedded tech can truly serve up personalized recommendations that is a win. But many have gone down this path and (so far) many have yet to reach the promised land.

Dion Kenney
16 days 11 hours ago

We are already seeing retailers and e-commerce platforms put AI to use. The applications, so far, have not been either “Matrix” level complex or “Minority Report” intrusive. But they are helpful in terms of providing recommended co-purchases for the shopper and insight for the data-driven marketer. There is plenty of room to go before we have fully AI-curated shopping experiences or other sci-fi quality applications.

Dave Bruno

Something has to change about the challenge that shopping online has become, and maybe Shoptrue is a step in that direction. We simply have to find a way to make discovery easier (via better recommendations), returns fewer (via more size/fit consistency) and selection smaller (via more personalization). Shoptrue looks to be making inroads into all three of these gigantic e-commerce shopping challenges. Will retailers adopt their tech? Will shoppers invest the time it takes to begin to build profiles that are meaningful to the algorithms? Only time will tell. But I am encouraged to see investment in innovation that attempts to make online shopping less of a nightmare.

Brandon Rael

The Holy Trinity of the modern retail experience is centered around personalization, localization, and outstanding customer experiences. Many retailers and solution providers have attempted to solve all three, and it has been a challenge to leverage AI’s power and innovation fully. The art of discovery typically begins in digital channels and, on the surface, Shoptrue appears to have built the capabilities to drive truly personalized experiences.

A foundation of real-time and automated data and analytics operating models are key enablers to help ensure that this is a successful model for Shoptrue. The collaborative nature of their model, with customers helping to shape what that curated experience looks like, may be a game changer. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

David Naumann

Shoptrue’s personalized recommendation platform should be a successful addition for brands that have a loyal following. There is some effort required by the customer, so it is most appropriate for loyal customers that are willing to provide their preferences in exchange for more accurate curated recommendations.

Ken Lonyai

I work with AI. All the algorithms they have and all the opinions here amount to nothing. If they have something figured out, we’ll know based on shopper response and their growth. At this stage, it’s another start-up with claims. Let’s see.

Ananda Chakravarty

AI is at the heart of almost all personalization engines today, what makes this solution unique is the ability to extend across more than just a single store and across platforms as new products and size combinations come up. The fact that it attempts to separate from the brand is admirable, but 1:1 personalization across brands is not yet here and the Shoptrue platform will need to work on building a contingent following — either as it’s own brand or as an aggregation of brands. As for the algorithmic hype, we’re seeing more algorithms in the process every day. The question really is whether the algorithms are driving customer satisfaction — a harder metric to capture — and certainly something Shoptrue needs to prove.

Craig Sundstrom

I think the whole concept of AI is overrated; yes it’s an improvement — or at least we hope it is — over existing marketing techniques, but it’s just that: an improvement, not some whole new world.

No predictive tool is ever going to be perfect, at least not without being provided with so much personal information as to be intrusive.

Anil Patel

Algorithmic shopping is the future! Browsing hundreds of styles to find that one truly desired item is time-consuming and boring. I believe shopping should be fun rather than a tiring activity, therefore, “Shoptrue” will undoubtedly be a success. Being able to easily find and shop curated stuff that is completely personalized according to preferences will definitely change the shopping-game. I am quite optimistic about the whole concept and hope more such platforms will launch soon!

Tony Walker

Interesting concept, although think this area will ultimately be built out more toward SAAS with the primary customer being retailers. Most consumers shop multiple platforms, meaning for AI to truly reflect the consumer it will need to consolidate information across categories and the user preferences within those categories based on the ranges that more than a single retailer sells.

This may take some time to build out given the information needed; customers notifying their preferences, collated search history from competing retailer sites, & purchases made… not easy to coordinate!

Without this, it’s very difficult to curate an offer truly tailored to an individual!

"Something has to change about the challenge that shopping online has become, and maybe Shoptrue is a step in that direction."

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