Hans Anders and PTTRNS.ai introduce a new online application in the optics market that uses a self-learning algorithm to give personal online eyewear advice based on a facial characteristics analysis. The advanced AI tool STYLE PTTRNS, developed by Dutch startup PTTRNS.ai, was launched in the Dutch market by Hans Anders on July 15th.
Online research, in-store purchase
To help the customer with the challenge of selecting the perfect pair of glasses, Hans Anders integrates the innovative application on their website as part of the total customer experience. Bram Bruijns, Director of Digital & Innovation at Hans Anders, indicates that this is a logical step for Hans Anders in improving the User Experience: “If you enter a spectacle store and there is no one to help you, there is a great chance you will be inclined to leave. This also applies to an online visit. The ROPO effect (Research Online, Purchase Offline) of our website is strong, but we also see that people orient themselves online and, in the end, do not visibly take action. To create an optimal user experience, we also want to offer our customers online some of the advice they receive in our stores and thus help them better with the orientation process.” According to Bruijns, this is part of Hans Anders’ omnichannel strategy, which puts the customer journey first and offers customer value whenever the customer needs help and advice, both online and physically in the store.
Total-experience: from facial analysis to in-store advice
The online glasses advice is part of the total experience for the customer at Hans Anders. The recommendation process starts with a facial analysis: a scan of the face via a smartphone or computer camera. At this point, the application collects 17 facial features and 24 spectacle data points, including the jawline, skin undertone, and eyebrow shape.
Based on the extracted information and the style analysis of PTTRNS systems of more than 3,500 frames, a first selection of the ten best matching frames available from Hans Anders is presented. Bruijns: “With our virtual try-on solution, the customer can then easily see and assess the condition of the glasses and select their favorites. These frames can be shipped quickly and easily to a nearby store. The customer can try on the frames and do an extensive eye test for the right lenses. Therefore, it also has advantages for our colleagues in the stores, because if a set of preferred frames is already available there, it leads to a simpler selection process and faster conversion.”
Combination of human and algorithm
The application combines the best of 2 worlds. “Hans Anders has almost 40 years of experience in optics. Our service and expertise have a lot of added value for customers. That is why the knowledge that our specialists have in the stores was the starting point for the development of the algorithm,” says Bruijns. “Our optical trainers have helped training the system. With the introduction, we will see how the behavior of users makes the algorithm smarter. That is interesting for us, of course, because the tool keeps getting better, and the input received is valuable for the training programs of our specialists. In this way, the development of humans and algorithms go hand in hand.”
Conversion increase, fewer returns, and increase in customer loyalty
Jelle Stienstra, digital strategy director at PTTRNS.ai, is enthusiastic about the collaboration. According to him, applying Hyper-Personalization will take online marketing to the next level at Hans Anders: “It requires that a company and its customers get to know their style profile and how these customers experience products to make a match. The use of the PTTRNS personalization platform has already proven itself in, for example, perfume retail. We also aim for a 10% increase in conversions, fewer returns, and a 20% increase in customer loyalty for the eyewear industry.” PTTRNS.ai will present the STYLE PTTRNS at the next Silmo show in Paris.
PTTRNS.ai, founded in 2018, has a team of about 30 specialists in artificial intelligence, e-commerce and fashion. The company focuses on accelerating digital personalization and has worked with renowned brands such as Philips, HP, Audi, and Nike. The eyewear team consists of stylists, product developers and deep learning- and data specialists.
Hans Anders, since 1982, is a successful value-for-money retailer of eyewear, lenses, and hearing aids, with high quality for a sharp price. Hans Anders is a part of the Hans Anders Retail Group, a market leader in the Netherlands, and has over 400 stores in the Netherlands and Belgium. In Sweden, Hans Anders Retail Group operates as Direkt Optik with 40 stores. The chain eyes + more with 260 stores in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Austria is also part of the Hans Ander Retail Group.