The North Face will soon launch a new app powered by IBM's Watson that promises to deliver better search results and user experience.
It's the first mobile app to use Watson, according to VentureBeat. The North Face has used IBM's artificial intelligence to first test and later power its website, but paring down search results to deliver more accurate product offerings is even more critical on mobile devices' smaller screens.
The app is browser-based and works with the retailer's responsive website, which by April will have a mobile-first user experience.
What differentiates the app from other shopping experiences? Instead of searching for a winter jacket and narrowing the search by color or material, Watson asks users where they are going and what activities are planned.
The North Face tested the app for two months during the holiday season. During that time approximately 50,000 shoppers used the app, engaging for roughly two minutes at time. Feedback was positive, with a score of 2.5 out of 3. Cal Bouchard, senior director of e-commerce for The North Face, told VentureBeat that the program had a 60 percent clickthrough rate, and 75 percent of shoppers said they would use it again.
The program may still be a bit buggy. Watson learns as it goes and results will become more sophisticated as it gains experience, but the end result is one that lets The North Face find out more about their shoppers, where they go and what they do—and what products they're going to need in the process. "It's a niche we can play in," said Bouchard. "We think this is game-changing."
-See this VentureBeat article
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