Forbes + CommerceNext: Interview with Eric Colson (Stitch Fix)

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Technology has slowly infiltrated the retail and ecommerce industry, automating traditionally high-touch areas like customer service. The Stitch Fix algorithms are the heart and soul of the personal styling service. With leadership from a veritable Valley authority in algorithm application, Eric Colson, Stitch Fix boasts the most sophisticated data science team in the land.

Our own Veronika Sonsev, Commerce co-founder and Forbes contributor, interviewed Colson 1 on 1 to absorb his algorithm acumen. She learned several ways Stitch Fix is dining out on its data science: logistics, inventory, product design, and more.

Using up to 7 different algorithms for the styling process alone, Stitch Fix first starts learning when it information gathers with a customer quiz upon sign-up. Knowing sizes and preferences, the company can begin predicting what sizes and styles it will need for inventory. If the customer has signed up for a subscription, it’s the customer feedback (returns vs keepers) that teaches the algorithms in-depth specifics about customer preferences, so the next boxes inch closer to perfection.

Algorithms do more than power machine learning for stylists and operations management. In a very human analytical way, the algorithms begin interpreting style and reading between the lines of customer feedback. Despite what some customers enter as their style or size preferences, the data science applied corrects incorrect¬† assumptions by analyzing what’s returned and learning exactly what a customer’s selected “style” truly means in context of her location. Not stopping there, the algorithms act as part of the design team for Stitch Fix’s own label: they interpret what design elements from which items are most popular to create new products missing from the market.

How else is Stitch Fix standing out in data science? Read the entire article and spread the word about Stitch Fix.

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