Uniqlo launches its own virtual assistant using Google technology

Uniqlo has launched Uniqlo IQ, a mobile assistant that uses voice recognition and artificial intelligence to give customers personalised recommendations.

The Japanese retailer launched the service to make shopping for clothes online more enjoyable for customers, hoping that the technology creates a new way for people to find inspiration.

Created using Google technology by Inamoto & Co, alongside Japanese agency Party, the new tool is now live for customers to use. It first launched as a test in the US in 2017, followed by a deeper testing period in Japan last year. Now customers across Japan can access the app via either the Uniqlo app, Line or Google Assistant.

The app has a variety of experiences by which to find clothes, including hourly product rankings, searching by occasion type, finding items featured in monthly magazines, and even discovering products based on today’s lucky color, based on your daily horoscope.

Once a product has been selected, users can either choose to shop within the mobile experience or be directed to the nearest store to try on the goods.

Rei Inamoto, founding partner of Inamoto & Co, said: “As retail moves deeper into the digital realm, shopping needs to be not just portable and perpetual but personal as well. There has been a lot of talk about AI in the last few years but most use cases have been toys, not tools. Available through chat, search and even voice activation, this iteration of Uniqlo IQ is the foundation of how Uniqlo will provide customer service on a personal level not just reactively but also proactively.”

The service is integrated into the Google Assistant app in Japan, which means that after saying ‘Uniqlo IQ’ or ‘Uniqlo FAQ,’ Google Assistant becomes Uniqlo IQ in order to help find the answers. According to Uniqlo, this is the first time for a brand to work this closely with Google on a brand-specific solution.