Gap Inc. is buying its way into a little more tech savvy.
The retailer said it acquired the New York- and Tel Aviv-based start-up Context-Based 4 Casting, which uses AI and machine learning to drive sales and sharpen the customer experience with predictive analytics and demand sensing.
Sally Gilligan, chief growth transformation officer and head of Gap’s Strategic Growth Office, said: “We believe artificial intelligence and machine learning will shape the future of our industry. Gap Inc. has experience working with CB4’s world-class data scientists, so we understand the impact and the wide applications their science can have across sales, inventory and consumer insights, as well as its potential to unlock value and enhance the customer experience.”
CB4, which was funded by Sequoia Capital, has also worked with Levi Strauss & Co., Urban Outfitters Inc. and other retailers.
The company’s employees will join Gap as full-timers.
Yoni Benshaul, CB4’s chief executive officer, said: “CB4’s AI helps lift sales and enhance customer experiences. As we join Gap Inc., I’m excited to see how our team can drive even broader and deeper impact at the company’s global scale.”
Gap brokered the deal through its Strategic Growth Office, which the company said “seeks out opportunities to fuel growth and accelerate new capabilities across its portfolio of brands.”
The retailer moved its tech onto the cloud a year ago and has been putting more money into technology to help it grow.
Already the company acquired virtual fitting room company Drapr and invested in Obé fitness, which Gap’s Athleta brand uses “to bring entertainment, pop culture and design to fitness.”
Retailers in general are rushing to grab more online market share — a trend that only increased as the pandemic pushed more consumers toward e-commerce.
But driving business online requires new thinking for the retail set, which is turning to outside tech companies, buying their own start ups and looking to build new skills within their own ranks.
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