By Kim Boram
SEOUL, March 17 (Yonhap) -- Fashion retailers analyze all the previous years' data to build a plan that offers the right kind of product at the right place, time, quantity and price. The process, called merchandise planning, involves selecting an item, designing the product and determining the ways to sell the product.
But merchandise planning is not an easy task for the management who has to do all the data-collecting and paperwork as the retail industry has been experiencing great changes around the world, such as wider global sourcing, less predictable demand and a higher level of competition.
Shin Ki-young, CEO of South Korean startup Designovel founded in 2017, said enhancements in information technology can help retailers go through the labor intensive process of merchandise planning in an easier, faster and cheaper way to maximize profit by reducing markdowns and achieving targets while limiting excess inventory.
"We offer our artificial intelligence-powered solutions to fashion retailers or run our fashion retail shops to cover the whole production process of planning, designing, distributing and selling, excluding producing," Shin said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency on Monday.
"It collects all previous data on the market and trends, and produces outcomes to suggest what kind of item will be popular in the upcoming season or which design will be a steady seller."
Shin, who completed a Ph.D. in computer engineering at KAIST, said Designovel's generative AI is augmenting human capability in information processing, armed with up-to-date technologies like multimodal embedding, metric learning and vector search.
It offers tools that comes up with analytic reports with images and graphics on market trends and provides creative impressions and designs that have business value.
He said many of the company's customers use Designovel's program to test run their AI-based merchandise planning as part of their digital transformation projects.
At the same time, Designovel runs an online shopping mall, Dali Hotel, selling work outfits. The company acquired the fashion store last year, which had been struggling with low demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"After acquiring Dali Hotel, we used our solution in the entire process from researching, planning, designing and selling," he said. "Despite the recent economic slowdown, Dali Hotel has been growing rapidly."
Its costume jewelry brand, Branden, is also on a roll, with Designovel's data-driven planning program playing a major role.
"New digital technologies, including AI, will help people do work in a simpler and faster way," he said. "Our AI solution will pave the way for those who have no expertise in fashion to obtain new business opportunities in the trendy fashion industry."