Fashion at your fingertips: a Macedonian tech company supported by IME sells their product to fashion retailers across Europe
The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the fashion industry too. For the first time in decades, there is a significant drop in consumer demand. Factories and shops are closing due to order cancelations and to stop the spread of the virus in factories. At the same time, the only safe and efficient way is to redirect customers to online shops, a rising trend even before the pandemic. Macedonian startup Pixyle.ai recognized this market opportunity and is developing a visual search engine – a tool for fashion businesses to separate them from their competition. IME recognized and supported the development of this product which is a novelty on the European market.
Pixyle.ai is a Shtip-based startup, launched by a young woman who sees the potential of artificial intelligence in fashion e-retail. In 2018, Pixyle.ai received support from the Macedonian Fund for Innovation and Technological Development to develop a visual search engine suitable for fashion e-shops, while another Swiss supported project – Swiss EP, guided them to position the startup more successfully on the market.
After signing a contract with one of the biggest sustainable fashion brands in the Netherlands, Pixyle.ai received positive signals from the Benelux market. But they needed to upgrade the product to meet the demand of fashion brands there, and they also lacked the in-house capacity for marketing and sales. IME’s Opportunity Fund instrument came as an answer to these challenges.
“Thanks to IME’s support, we employed two more team members to develop the product and now we offer it an additional feature to clients. We added value to our visual search engine and created a visual similarity recommendation tool. With this, an end-user interested in buying an item from the screen may want to explore visually similar items – with similar colors, shapes, and patterns – before finishing their purchase.” shares Svetlana Kordumova, Pixyle.ai founder and CEO. This tool not only makes the shopping experience better and more engaging for the customers, but it also helps brands establish better online storefronts, enhances product page curation, turns out-of-stock into sales opportunities, and ultimately increases visitors to customers conversion rate.
Pixyle.ai also adopted a holistic approach to selling their product. They partnered with a company specialized in lead generation which is an important step in business-to-business sales. This resulted in improved access to potential clients, as well as expert support in marketing and promotion through email, social media, and blogs.
Pixyle.ai brand is going stronger now due to their increased presence in social media, blogging, email marketing, and direct client communication. “We have built an AI technology that solves the catalogue management challenge for fashion retailers, and we are working on marketing and promotion to educate our clients about the power of AI and how it can improve their business”. Within few months Pixyle.ai is already working on a pilot project with two fashion retailers – in Netherlands and Sweden.
“As a result of this support, we are in a better position to sustain our growth and employ new people. We are steps closer to fulfilling our mission of having five clients by the end of 2020, being well positioned in the Benelux market and expanding to other European markets.” – Svetlana concludes.