Stylitics, a retail technology firm with a visual merchandise platform for personalized styling, outfitting and bundling suggestions geared to motivate shoppers to buy more, has obtained $80 million in Series C funding from PSG, a private equity firm investing in growth-stage software businesses.
The New York-based, AI-driven Stylitics, founded in 2011, previously amassed $21 million through earlier funding rounds.
Rohan Deuskar, founder and chief executive officer of Stylitics, said PSG’s $80 million investment represents a minority stake in his business. He declined to specify PSG’s percent ownership or place a value on Stylitics. The Boston-based PSG is considered a tier one private equity fund.
“What really drives e-commerce is digital visual content,” Deuskar told WWD. “For most brands and retailers, it’s extremely expensive and slow to produce high-quality images. Stylitics is able to use technology to pull in the assets of retailers and brands and produce a whole new category of shoppable visual content depicting outfits, bundles, gift sets and shop-the-room online experiences.”
Stylitics’ clients include Express, Puma, Chico’s FAS, Williams Sonoma, as well as some department stores and other specialty chains and brands.
Explaining how Stylitics works, Deuskar said his firm is synced to client product feeds to get the latest data on new arrivals and inventory changes. Stylitics technology then automatically adds enhanced product attribution and metadata to ready the products for styling. Then Stylitics transforms single item images into multiple editorial-type stories per product with “shoppable” images appearing on product detail pages, category pages, emails and ads, thereby depicting the item as part of various outfits for different occasions and settings, demonstrating the item’s versatility.
“It’s dynamic styling,” said Deuskar, and achieved rapidly, “in minutes versus weeks,” saving clients the time and money associated with re-shooting products on their own, and getting photographers, stylists and IT teams involved.
“We have the ability to assign style themes, captions, personas, and adjust each element based on trend, shopper history and the components of the outfit. There is a contextual language component but the focus is on elevating the visuals” Deuskar said. “We also provide all of the front-end technology. Our clients don’t have to go to their IT teams.”
“Typically, we are creating or updating tens of thousands of outfits for each brand or retailer every day. In one day, we can create more shoppable visual content than they can produce in a year. We are the largest producer of original fashion content in the world.”
Retailers and brands pay an annual fee to Stylitics, based on the number of visual experiences and products Stylitics covers for them, and the volume of the client.
“They have a lot of visibility and control if they want,” Deuskar said.
“So far we have been driving revenue per visitor. We want to continue to invest in that and really tackle the idea of driving lifetime value and loyalty. By giving them compelling experiences online, there is a huge opportunity for retailers to take infrequent shoppers who buy from a number of retailers and brands, and get them to come back to them and buy double or triple what they bought before. It’s about getting shoppers to see a brand or a retailer as a style destination and not just a place to browse and leave quickly. It’s about making the experience more personalized.”
With the Series C funding, Stylitics will accelerate the rollout of its latest platform capabilities, including automation, personalization, real-time display optimization, expanded layouts and visuals, and advanced analytics.
Stylitics will be launching digitally native features to drive loyalty, engagement and cross-sell, and will be ramping up R&D initiatives around augmented reality, virtual reality, voice and other emerging technologies.
In addition, Stylitics will Increase support for clients with enhanced program management solutions for product, marketing and merchandising teams and roll out new tools for shoppers, including a “closet-like” functionality enabling shoppers to see past purchases styled with new arrivals to guide future purchases. “It’s a shortcut to see how what they already own works with something new they could buy,” Deuskar said.
Stylitics contends its technology drives 25 percent lifts in conversion rates and average order value; approximately $4 billion in incremental revenue for the retailers and brands it currently works with, and that every month more than 100 million online shoppers see styling ideas Stylitics created for its clients.
Along with AI, the company uses stylists who are trained on each client’s brand and serve as guides for the system. The stylists oversee the AI-powered generation of the shoppable content, while the technology provides speed, scale, and real-time dynamic elements such as location, weather, out-of-stock or underperforming stock keeping units.
Others that have invested in Stylitics include PeakSpan Capital, HDS Capital, NPD and Forerunner Ventures.