Enter The Digital Animal
Fashion retail was an analogue and physical world that required you to visit a store to see and touch products. After you found and tried a few things to see how they looked, decisions got made on which ones were going home with you.
My grandmother, Gladys Smith, fit people into clothing her whole career. She was the longest working employee in Eaton’s history (like the Macy’s of Canada). She started there in 1930 at age 19 and retired in 1999 at age 88. It’s not surprising then that a lot of my childhood was spent in Eaton’s stores. I used to love running through the racks, playing hide and go seek with my sisters, and seeing all that stuff that was ‘new’. The traditional department store was an amazing place with so many discoveries waiting to happen. Back then, there were a limited number of stores that had big selection and great service. Having a broad inventory, plenty of space to show it, and knowledgable staff was a strong value proposition.
With today’s explosion of brands, products, and places to buy, I find shopping overwhelming. What was once straight forward can now feel like a research project where I’m using Google, Instagram and ecommerce to find what I'm after, and at a price I’m willing to pay. That can be fun once, but not every time I need to buy something. It’s just too much work! A lot of people, including myself, avoid going to stores as it's time consuming and can feel like a chore. Even the average ecommerce site comes with a lot of hesitation in tapping that buy button.
I’m thrilled for this digital future flooding into retail and fashion. It’s extremely rare for me to pull something off a rack or try on a pair of shoes that ‘just fit’. The promise of a magic wand that can be waved around me to then access a style and a fit I feel good in makes me very excited.
It’s this frustration and hope that captures why we’re building FTSY (‘footsy’) at Digital Animal. We’re all still primal, needing to fulfil our basic needs of food, shelter and clothing. Using technology, we’re creating a better shopping experience to meet this need. It’s time to cut to the chase for satisfaction. We see a more intuitive way to buy goods through the use of an AI that can see us, understand us, and recommend better products. FTSY keeps the fun in the game of shopping while saving you time.
We are becoming digital animals. Still physical and emotional beings, but extended beyond our limits through a device that connects us to a bigger, more intelligent support network.
From a fashion perspective, there’s a flood of new goods about to be unlocked. These will use custom processes, 3D printing, new materials, and new designs that were previously unavailable. The distribution and accessibility is what we are working on – how to provide easy access for everyone to make and buy goods shaped to each person. No more wading through racks of inventory, just place an order in a style you like and trust that when it arrives, it will fit.
With computer vision you have a non-judgemental friend that can see you as you are. With artificial intelligence you have access to the memory and continuous learning of everyone else shopping, providing recommendations that are consistently on point. With augmented reality you can visualize products before purchase, getting a realistic preview of how it will look on you. It’s this set of new digital tools that bring back the excitement of the chase, with outstanding service, and with more confidence to buy. So many discoveries waiting to happen!