Guess Partnering With Alibaba to Test Artificial Intelligence in Stores

The realm of artificial intelligence has become reality in the retail world with the new Guess? Inc. store in Hong Kong partnering with Alibaba’s FashionAI project to give shoppers a glimpse into the future.

The artificial intelligence–concept store features smart racks, smart mirrors and next-generation fitting rooms. It also offers customers mix-and-match clothing and accessories suggestions from the Guess line as well as items sold by others on Alibaba’s Tmall, a business-to-consumer e-commerce platform, and Taobao, a consumer-to-consumer platform for small businesses and individuals to open online stores. Guess has been on Tmall since 2013.

“As technology changes how we interact, it also affects how we shop,” said Victor Herrero, chief executive of Los Angeles–based Guess. “Our strong and long-lasting partnership with global technology leader Alibaba puts us ahead of the market in our industry.”

Each item in the Guess store has RFID tags so that smart mirrors and smart fitting rooms can identify and respond to customers with any piece of clothing.

If there isn’t enough inventory in the store, then consumers can go to the Taobao mobile virtual kiosks in the store where items are displayed in sizes and colors not in the retail location. Shoppers then use a mobile app to pay for their purchases and check out.

A rollout of the artificial-intelligence retail concept took place July 4 at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University campus on the sidelines of the 2018 Fashion and Textile Conference.

While the Guess store in Hong Kong might be up and running with the artificial-intelligence system, it hasn’t expanded to any other Guess stores yet. But the company is hoping to roll it out in more markets soon, said Allison Shafii, the director of advertising at Guess.

However, at the end of the month, Guess will be piloting the Alipay technology at 41 stores in the United States. Alipay is a digital-payment platform that allows Chinese travelers visiting the United States to purchase items using their Alipay mobile wallet.

Recently, the Asian-American grocery-store chain 99 Ranch Market announced it too would be accepting Alipay at all its North American stores.