Bridging the Fashion Personalization Gap: Adobe’s Brilliant Plan


June 10, 2016

Personalization is the cornerstone of making a consumer feel less like a customer and more like an asset. Retailers have always taken lofty strides in personalizing a consumer’s shopping experience. In the digital age, personalization is profit. No other era has enjoyed the privilege of a tailored shopping experience such as this one. Log into an Amazon account or open a subscriber email from a brand such as Saks and a consumer is greeted with a bevy of personalized products pulled from the data collected based on their prior browsing and purchase history. Personalization for online retailers is easy. Algorithm’s make it possible to tailor picks for an individual based on their entire shopping history on a given site. Brick and mortar establishments don’t have it quite so easy.

For online retailers, personalization is a win-win. Shoppers are introduced to products they might otherwise miss and they’re fully aided in finding what they’re looking for, making for a seamless experience. E-commerce is the perfect platform for individualized shopping. The question is, how do brick and mortar retailers match such an experience? Is it possible for physical stand alone stores to integrate personalization into the store’s shopping dynamic? Of course, they have the advantage of offering personal styling services free of charge (or with a guaranteed purchase), but not every customer is apt to undergo the lengthy one-on-one process styling calls for.

How do physical stores bridge the gap between the personalization services offered in an e-commerce space and the typical in person buying experience? Adobe is itching to solve this very problem. One week ago, at the annual Adobe Marketing Summit in Las Vegas, Errol Denger, the director of commerce at Adobe, unveiled a brilliant concept for bridging the personalization gap and marrying the expertise of an in store personal shopper with data driven recommendations in an offline space.

Adobe unveiled a plan in which a consumer can walk into a physical store and stand before a large screen hooked up to a Microsoft Kinect device. The device would scan the customer’s body, displaying height, weight, and measurements (including length of the spine and legs). With those measurements in mind, the device would store the collected data in a user profile that would also include past purchase history, personal hobbies, and any other details a customer would feel inclined to share when signing up. Users would then be guided through an array of store items that would suit them best based entirely upon Adobe’s unique algorithms. For example, say a woman is looking for a tailored jacket. She’s undecided as to what color or style she wants in particular. The device would take her measurements, work through her data, and recommend pieces that fit not only her lifestyle but her her color preferences and build. The device would also take information such as brand preferences into account. From there, the customer would be offered a discount for making an in-store purchase using the device and are likely to return based on their overall personalized experience.

While Adobe hasn’t yet brought the concept to market, they have explained that they are currently working with a few retailers to make the concept a reality by the end of 2016. The key to implementing the device and growing it would be using viable cost effective technology. Body scanning units have been used by brands such as Brooks Brothers for years; however, the model they utilize can cost tens of thousands of dollars. This alienates many brands from investing in the device as the upfront cost seems a high burden to bear. The adobe unit would use the Microsoft Kinect sensor (it’s currently used with the Xbox One devices), to lower the cost per unit. Simply by using Kinect, the cost of each unit would be in the hundreds rather than the thousands.

What’s Adobe’s end goal with this system? To create a product that makes shopping in person a bit more fun and way more personalized, all without feeling gimmicky. Adobe cites that they do not want to create a product that feels like a cheap marketing ploy; instead they want to guarantee that the experience a customer has with each unit is immersive, fun, and the embodiment of the particular brand using the machine. At the end of 2016, consumers might just find out for themselves just how personal shopping can get.

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