The wardrobe function on Canadian retailer Simons' new app.
TORONTO — La Maison Simons, the 177-year-old upscale fashion retailer from Quebec City, has introduced an all-in-one app that “eliminates the gaps between the physical and digital worlds,” according to company president and co-owner Peter Simons.Available for free as of Thursday on iPhones and Android, the collaborative effort between the family-operated Simons and Montreal tech firm Nventive followed “an aggressive and busy roadmap” towards its completion, Simons told WWD.“We had a two-year timeline and reached a point six months ago where we were ready to launch. But we took our time to ready the app and stabilize its performance,” he said.The final result combines multiple technologies to deliver a solution for those wanting a more personalized shopping experience.That includes access to “Starlook,” a proprietary image-recognition and artificial intelligence system that allows consumers to take or upload a picture of a product they like, regardless of the shopper's location, as Simons explained. Once entered, the app will recommend similar Simons products that match that pick.“Image recognition is now a granular technology — it’s almost identical or equal to the human mind. So we’re getting to the edge of what transitional technology is and how it will allow us to breach that distance between the sophistication of the human mind and computer data,” said Simons.The app also integrates features like “The Wardrobe,” which displays previous purchases. That feature, in fact, aided Simons himself during a recent business trip to Italy, where a grease stain ruined his favorite pair of pants. “I couldn’t remember where I found these pants, but with the app I could look it up. It gave me quick access and fast purchase power. That’s what consumers want today,” he said.The app offers a scanning function that allows consumers to hover over product tags and bring up the item’s detailed Simons mobile web page for quick reference, as well as access across the site for faster shopping and check outs.It also provides directions to Simons’ products and services, as well as detailed store maps via interactive GPS for shoppers upon entering any of the company’s’ 15 department stores across Canada.Simons’ reward program members can use the app to access their loyalty card and see their point accumulation as they check out.“The truth is half our customers shop simultaneously in our stores and on the web. So there isn’t just one kind of shopper for us,” said Simons. “The real benefit here is this meshing of technology, so that our app can simplify the shopping experience for everyone. But it’s also the spinal cord for our IT architecture of the future.”That includes laying the groundwork for Simons’ next project in 2018, which will be the establishment of a robotics facility at the head office to service the company’s e-commerce and other future initiatives.
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