How Digital Platforms Are Learning To Serve Us Better [Future of Retail]

How Digital Platforms Are Learning To Serve Us Better [Future of Retail]

A look at the adaptive retail recommendation services delivering greater relevancy to shoppers.

  • 17 november 2013

When online services tap into your data under the guise of offering a more personalized set of recommendations, the results can often be disappointing. You, after all, know that you are greater than the sum of your parts and the data that you’re freely giving away is a valuable commodity. What if technology could learn from you, and present you with what you want based on your preferences or tastes as they evolve rather than the vague desires of someone ‘like’ you?

In our Future of Retail report, PSFK Labs has identified the trend of Adaptive Personalization, where technology companies are developing new consumer-facing platforms that employ adaptive algorithms to learn shopper preferences over time, offering a set of tailored recommendations that leverage past behaviors and current context to begin to anticipate future need. Read below to see what services are reshaping the retail marketplace.


Online auction website eBay is partnering with fashion recommendation website Dressipi to present select shoppers with a personal online gallery of clothing. EBay visitors fill out a questionnaire examining metrics like age, size, body shape, preferred colors, favorite designers, and even the amount of skin they want to reveal. The system behind the UK-based Dressipi site then creates a specific ‘fashion fingerprint’ based on the shopper’s data, and eBay is able to better curate products displayed on the shopper’s Fashion Gallery. Dressipi is also able to recommend products manually with a team of stylists who review shoppers’ ‘fingerprints’ and suggest pieces that will fit best. Dressipi and eBay hope to help shoppers cut down on search time by matching them with personalized recommendations in minutes.


Nara Logics is a recommendation service that tailors search results for restaurants and hotels based on personal tastes and interests rather than search history. Individuals with a smartphone can download the app and start receiving recommendations by entering their favorite cuisines, preferred neighborhoods, and price range. Nara matches diners’ data with restaurants that match their criteria and as dinners continue to use the application, they can ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’ restaurants they do and don’t like. For its part, Nara’s software unpacks and sorts web page data containing restaurant and hotel reviews to find commonalities and patterns in a user’s preferences. Nara creates what it calls a ‘neural network’ that continues to evolve based on existing reviews and user preferences. The company hopes to deliver a higher level of satisfaction than other search engines in a shorter amount of time.


E-commerce recommendations service StyleSeek is implementing a ‘style game’ that culls valuable information from shoppers and feeds it into an algorithm designed to create a customized experience for every shopper. When users visit the site, they are prompted with swatches of pin-board like images to pick from that best represent their style. StyleSeek creates ‘Shopper DNA’ based on an individual’s personal style rather than collaborative filtering that compares a shopper’s style to that of people who bought similar products.  In under 30 seconds, a user’s StyleDNA is defined and relevant products are recommend. StyleSeek hopes to compete against social recommendation engines that require users to ‘follow’ others, providing a shared style perspective rather than a tailored one. StyleSeek told PSFK that their users tend to have a conversion rate that is three times higher than the industry average.

In the fourth edition of the Future of Retail Report, PSFK Labs brings together two interconnected themes and eleven key trends that provide a foundation for the modern shopping experience. The findings are brought to life with best-in-class examples, actionable strategies and leading questions to inspire leading retailers and brands. Join us at our San Francisco conference on Nov. 21st where talks from retail innovators will bring the key themes to life.



Photo by IBN Live


Lancôme's Newest Campaign Stars A Domestic Abuse Survivor

Work Today

Editorial Roundtable: How Will Companies Staff The Workplace Of The Future?

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary, AltSchool and thinkPARALLAX examine the ways that a people-first workplace might disrupt the job hiring process

Arts & Culture Today

Mischievous Drone Will Drop Paint-Filled Balloons On Targets Of Your Choosing

A German photography team developed the flying device to accurately deliver a payload wherever needed


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Retail Today

Snapchat Reveals A Striking Pair Of Video-Recording Sunglasses

Spectacles make memories from your perspective and transfer them to the app

Related Expert

Christel Quek

Content & Marketing in Asia

Financial Services Today

This Peer-To-Peer Insurance Company Is Powered By Bots

Lemonade is a new product designed to lighten the paperwork and provide instant, helpful service when needed

Design Today

Concept Artists And Scientists Form Partnership To Visualize The Future

The collaboration hopes to liberate ideas and innovations trapped in notebooks

Automotive Today

Uber Could Be Bringing Vertical Takeoff Transport To Your City

The ridesharing app is looking into the development of nimble aircraft for urban environments


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed Today

Energy Expert: How American Consumers Are Taking Control Of Their Power Use

Jennifer Tuohy, green tech expert at The Home Depot, discusses green home technologies and developments for renewable technologies in US homes

PSFK Labs Today

New Mentorship Ecosystems Benefit All Levels Of An Organization

PSFK’s Future of Work report explores how technology is being leveraged to support cross-team communication

Arts & Culture Yesterday

Small Urban Pavilions Create A Nature Refuge In East London

These relaxing micro shelters provide a haven amidst chaotic city environments

Travel Yesterday

Travel Laundry Pouch Washes Your Clothes Wherever You Are

The Scrubba Wash Bag helps anyone wash their clothes easily and quickly with just a little water and soap

Social Media Yesterday

Swipe Up To Register To Vote On Snapchat

The social platform has partnered with TurboVote to help young people easily enroll in less than one minute

Children Yesterday

Battle Card Game Promotes Childhood Vaccinations

An Australian doctor has developed a playful way to inform parents about immunization and entertain kids


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

Experiential Marketing Yesterday

UNICEF’s ‘Time Machine’ Tells Stories With Data

An experiential installation at the UN General Assembly reminds us why every child matters

Design & Architecture Yesterday

Watch The World’s Tallest Building Become An LED Display

Burj Khalifa gives a backstage look at how the transformation came to be

Travel Yesterday

Boeing Wants To Make Your Flight Better With Cloud And Star Projections

The manufacturer is trying to patent a projection system that would allow them to project images onto a plane's interior surfaces

No search results found.