High-end home furnishings brand West Elm has introduced Pinterest Style Finder, an online tool that uses artificial intelligence to help customers turn style inspirations into products they can buy at West Elm’s stores and ecommerce site.
Luke Chatelain, Vice President of Innovation for West Elm, said the new tool is a way to engage with customers “on a platform that we know they’re already utilizing as part of their home design efforts.” It was built using image and vision recognition API technology from Clarifai.
Chatelain said the style finder was initially inspired by West Elm’s Style + Service, a free design service/consultation available in its stores. Customers share a Pinterest board for a room, for example, and suggest a similar West Elm product to its designers.
“The Style Finder was founded on a similar objective of helping our customers on their journey to express their personal style at home,” he said.
In addition to Pinterest, West Elm is also active on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, and posts daily on its own “Front & Main” blog.
“As platforms evolve and mature and many downplay organic posts in their algorithms, each social channel has its strengths and weaknesses,” said Aaron Able, Director of Social Media and Digital Content for West Elm. “Being flexible and quick to adjust to changing platforms is beneficial.”
Able said West Elm has found more success on platforms focused on compelling visuals. He said a growing portion of its marketing efforts are supported by user-generated content, primarily Instagram images from customers featuring its products. UGC is part of West Elm’s email, retargeting, paid social media, display and blog marketing content strategies.
Chatelain said AI delivers rich customer insights, adding he believes it’s a growing, evolving trend in retail. He said it provides automated and scalable methods to improve the customer experience across a variety of touchpoints, helping them and improving their buying experience.
“Since ecommerce is such a competitive landscape, traditional brick-and-mortar retail must evolve to create a more personalized and intuitive shopping experience to further customer engagement, aid deliverability and simplify the checkout process,” Chatelain said.