Zalando turns to ChatGPT to make an AI fashion assistant

19 Apr 2023

Image: © hanohiki/

Zalando plans to launch a beta version of the AI assistant in Ireland this spring and says it will let users navigate its platform in a more intuitive way.

Online retailer Zalando is launching its own AI assistant for its app and web platform, which will be powered by ChatGPT.

The company said this assistant will enhance the online shopping experience for users, by letting them use their own words and fashion terms to navigate Zalando’s catalogue in a more intuitive way.

The first beta version of this fashion assistant will be available to a select group of customers early this year. This version will be made available to customers in Ireland, Germany, the UK and Austria.

Zalando claims its fashion assistant will be able to understand specific details based on user sentences. For example, if a user asks what they should wear for a wedding in Santorini in July, the assistant will understand that it’s a formal event and what the weather would be like in that month.

The company anticipates that this feature could be combined in the future with customer preferences, such as brands they follow or products in their sizes, to deliver a more personalised result.

Tian Su, Zalando’s VP of personalisation and recommendation, said the company is excited to experiment with ChatGPT to help customers “discover even more fashion they will love”.

“This is only the beginning,” Su said. “We are committed to understanding our customers’ needs and preferences even better, and we are eager to explore the potential that ChatGPT can bring to their shopping journey.”

“As we continue testing and introducing new solutions, our focus remains on learning how our customers want to interact with our fashion assistant to provide them with the best possible experience.”

In February, Zalando announced plans to cut hundreds of jobs due to macroeconomic issues. The company employed around 17,000 staff globally at the time, with 120 based in Ireland.

AI surge

There has been a rapid growth in the use of AI products in recent months, spurred on by the release of ChatGPT last November. Many companies have raced to integrate the chatbot‘s capabilities into their services, such as Microsoft making an AI-powered Bing chatbot.

The adoption of ChatGPT by Microsoft also helped create an AI arms race, with Google revealing its AI chatbot, Bard, as a potential rival, while other tech giants moved to get their AI systems up to speed.

China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba revealed its own generative AI system earlier this month to take on ChatGPT’s dominance.

There are also rumours that Google is working on a suite of generative AI systems under project Magi set to be unveiled next month to take on the ChatGPT-powered Bing.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic