Retail, Startup News & Analysis

How the founders of fashion app Shop You are using artificial intelligence to deliver a personalised shopping experience

Caleb Triscari /

Kelly Slessor and Emma Sharley

Kelly Slessor and Emma Sharley. Source: Supplied

The co-founders of fashion retail app Shop You are looking to ride the waves of the artificial intelligence boom to make shopping easier for women in Australia, and they’ve already teamed up with 30 brands to bring their vision to life.

The free Shop You app, which launched today, uses artificial intelligence and personal shopping data to customise and propose clothing options for customers to suit their circumstances. The customer inputs their preferred brands, their fashion style and body shape, and the app will suggest clothing. Shop You will also display sales and discounted items.

Shop You is launching with brands such as Cotton On, ASOS and Uniqlo already on board. According to the app’s website, Nike, General Pants Co. and Dotti are also expected to jump on soon.

The app was founded by Emma Sharley and Kelly Slessor, who’ve drawn on their experience in the Australian marketing industry to recognise a gap in the markets and the challenges retailers and customers are facing today. The pair have also spoken directly with shoppers to find out what they need too.

“We’ve spoken to about 1000 24 to 45-year olds on what they wanted from their shopping experience,” co-founder Emma Sharley tells SmartCompany. The research included interviews, surveys and user testing.

Sharley, a brand and marketing consultant, and Slessor, a digital and mobile marketing strategist, had experience consulting with brands such as Westfield before eventually forming a partnership in 2016 to establish the Shop You app.

Retailers such as Cotton On jumped on the app’s trial process, which involved launching a eight-week beta app trial in November last year, after which feedback and suggestions were incorporated prior to launching. With artificial intelligence and augmented reality capability taking centre-stage among many industries, Sharley says there is ample opportunity to launch a product like Shop You.

“All of those large retail groups jumped on board quite quickly because, for us, we see it as the perfect time to launch this app,” Sharley says.

The co-founders entered an Investible pitch competition in August, 2016, and won $125,000 in first-round funding and access to an eight-week accelerator program. Sharley and Slessor say they emerged from the accelerator program with a firmer grasp on how the app should be designed and what it needed to succeed, and an additional undisclosed investment from Investible. From there, the co-founders sought additional investments from family and friends.

The business has also attracted a board of advisors including Gavin Whyte, principal at Deloitte Australia, David Burkett, corporate advisor for CMB Capital, and Rachel Kelly, chief executive of Retail Collective.

In April, Sharley and Slessor will aim to raise $1.5 million in the hopes of eventually launching the app overseas. Sharley believes Shop You is a versatile app that can be applied to any international fashion market, regardless of the labels available.

“We want to use Australia as we know the market and customer best here and we’ve good relationships with the brands,” she says.

NOW READ: How virtual reality will change the face of e-commerce

*This article was updated on February 15, 2018 at 12.55pm

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Caleb Triscari

Caleb Triscari is a former SmartCompany sub-editor.

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