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Retail

M&S Acquires AI-Based Fashion Marketplace Thread

By Dayeeta Das
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M&S Acquires AI-Based Fashion Marketplace Thread

UK retailer Marks & Spencer has announced that it has acquired personalised fashion marketplace, Thread.

The deal includes the intellectual property of Thread, comprising the source code and algorithms developed by the company.

The move will allow Marks & Spencer to integrate state-of-the-art technology into the M&S.com platform to accelerate personalisation and deliver a unique customer experience.

The retailer plans to introduce personalisation capabilities across its entire clothing assortment, including its third-party brand partners.

‘Buy Not Build’ Approach

Katie Bickerstaffe, co-CEO of Marks & Spencer commented, "The acquisition of Thread is the perfect example of a ‘buy not build’ approach – enabling us to accelerate our personalisation strategy by integrating the market-leading tech on M&S.com in under 12 months.[...]

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“We have been working hard to deliver better, more stylish ranges and this algorithm will also put more of our great product in front of the customer, whilst further unlocking the potential of our third-party brand strategy, by adding outfit completing product ideas."

The company hopes to generate more than £100 million of annualised incremental revenue through this initiative.

Around 20-25% of all digital interactions in the company are expected to be personalised this year.

The retailer noted that outfit recommendations have proved particularly valuable, with the ‘frequently bought together’ recommendations estimated to account for an incremental £20 million of revenue over the last 12 months.

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'Customer Conversion'

Kieran O'Neill, CEO and co-founder of Thread added, "We have worked for the past 10 years on building the most advanced AI personalisation for online fashion, proven to increase customer conversion and repeat orders.

"We’re so excited to join forces with M&S; through their infrastructure and support, we’re able to take our market-leading technology to the next level, providing a personalised and unique shopping experience for their 30 million customers."

This month, O'Neill is set to join Marks & Spencer as senior head of product.

© 2022 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Dayeeta Das. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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