How Andrey Golub is using AI and VR to make brick-and-mortar shopping fashionable again
NRF stories from Microsoft about ELSE Corp:
- Is tech the new black?
- Using AI and VR to make brick-and-mortar shopping fashionable again
- Retail Revolution: Inside the Digital Transformation of Retail
- Discover the future of virtual retail and cloud manufacturing with E.L.S.E.
You want a pair of shoes, but you don’t want them to look like everyone else’s. You want them to be a different fabric, suede not leather. You want a different color, red not gray. You want a higher heel, not a standard 2- or 3-inch version.
You search the internet until you find some options that could work. But you wish that you could see that shade of red with your own eyes, touch the material, walk on the actual heel Instead, you cross your fingers, place your order and hope that what lands on your front porch is what you envisioned.
Many of us are used to buying shoes and clothes this way now, and initial sales results from the recent holiday season reflect how much we’ve embraced online shopping. Online sales reached $3.34 billion on Black Friday alone. But that affinity for shopping from home continues to have a serious impact on brick-and-mortar retailers.
One Milan-based startup wants to help change that dynamic. The idea: Draw shoppers who want more from their apparel into stores by letting them customize what they want to buy, see and touch the materials in person, and confer with a salesperson (if they want) before they order.
In today’s retail fashion world, “Customers are tired of being constrained to buy what is available in stores,” says Andrey Golub, co-founder and CEO of ELSE Corp., named one of “The 10 Startups Redefining Italian Fashion” by Forbes last spring. “They come to a store, and their attitude is, ‘If we find something, maybe it’s good, maybe it’s not so good, but if it’s discounted, maybe I will buy it.’”
Golub’s company has developed a system of “virtual retail,” which he also calls “no-stock retail,” for customers, companies, brands and manufacturers. The goal: To give customers not only what they want, but desire, when it comes to clothing and shoes by offering customized apparel.
“Technology-driven innovation and shifts in consumer behavior are pushing brands to create retail experiences that are more appealing, less time consuming and more personalized,” Golub says. “Personalization is really the driving influence,” and it “gives consumers an unprecedented level of control in every step of the creative process.”
Microsoft News Center Staff