Alibaba set a new Singles’ Day record this Saturday by selling a staggering $25 billion worth of goods. The company also quietly tested a technology that could help it reinvent retail using artificial intelligence.
On the third floor of a shopping mall in the heart of Shanghai last week, Xiaolan He, a woman in her 50s, took an olive green, down jacket to a fitting room. To her surprise, she found a screen about the size of a large poster on the wall. It recognized the item of clothing in her hands through a tiny sensor embedded in the garment and showed several options for matching items that she could flip through like a photo album. The screen, and the system that powers it makes up FashionAI—which essentially became He’s personal stylist.
fashion received its first big wave of customers during Singles’ Day, a shopping festival started by Alibaba in 2009 and held on November 11 each year.