• Thu. Jul 25th, 2024

Lily AI: Revolutionizing Retail with AI-Powered Shopping Experience

ByNishat Manzar

Sep 7, 2023

In the ever-evolving world of e-commerce, the role of artificial intelligence (AI) cannot be overstated. One pioneering company, Lily AI, has been making waves by leveraging the power of AI to enhance the online shopping experience for both customers and retailers. Powered by cutting-edge technology and driven by a team of experts, Lily AI is redefining how customers discover and connect with products in the vast digital marketplace. 

The AI Revolution in Retail

With the advent of AI, retailers are seeking innovative ways to cater to their customers better. Lily AI, founded by Purva Gupta and Sowmiya Chocka Narayanan, has emerged as a pioneer in addressing a significant challenge in the retail industry – website discoverability. By understanding and interpreting colloquial search terms used by shoppers, Lily AI helps customers find products that resonate with their preferences and needs.

Lily AI’s Journey

Lily AI’s journey began when Purva Gupta, an economist, moved to the United States and encountered challenges while searching for a specific item of clothing. This led to extensive consumer research, where she discovered a glaring discrepancy between how retailers described products and how consumers discussed them. Recognizing an opportunity to bridge this gap, Gupta embarked on a mission to develop a product that would combine technology with a deep understanding of consumer language.

Lily AI’s Development

With initial backing from Unshackled Ventures, Gupta and Chocka Narayanan launched Lily AI as a shopping app with personalized recommendation capabilities. The app quickly gained recognition, winning a best start-up award at the South by Southwest conference in 2017 and securing investments. However, the founders soon realized the limitations of the app’s scalability, prompting them to pivot towards a new vision – providing AI-powered solutions for major fashion retailers.

Lily AI’s Unique Approach

Lily AI’s success lies in its unique approach, which blends AI technology with human expertise. The company assembled a team of 40 engineers specializing in machine learning and computer vision. Simultaneously, they recruited 25 fashion domain experts, including image consultants, stylists, and retail associates, to curate product descriptions and search terms. This human element ensures that Lily AI’s algorithms understand the nuances of fashion and can interpret colloquial consumer language accurately.

The Power of Clean Data

One of the key challenges Lily AI tackled was the need for clean and unbiased training data. The fashion domain experts played a crucial role in providing labeled data, which included colloquial consumer words. This rich dataset allowed Lily AI to train its machine learning models to differentiate between subtle fashion distinctions, such as ‘boho’ and ‘boho chic.’ Over time, this data has been continuously refined and expanded.

Impressive Results

The impact of Lily AI’s technology on retailers has been nothing short of remarkable. Retail giants like Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Gap Inc. brands, Abercrombie & Fitch, and ThredUp have all embraced Lily AI’s solutions. Bloomingdale’s, for example, experienced a 3.5 percent increase in online order conversion during a four-month test in 2019. By 2022, Bloomingdale’s had generated approximately $20 million in additional online revenue, thanks to Lily AI. These results have garnered significant investment interest, with Canaan Partners leading a $25 million Series B financing round in 2022.

Expanding Beyond Fashion

While Lily AI initially focused on the fashion industry, its potential extends far beyond apparel. According to Sucharita Kodali, a retail analyst at Forrester, Lily AI has a unique capability for solving the website discoverability problem and is well-positioned to expand into sectors like travel and automobiles. The technology’s versatility makes it a valuable asset across various industries.


In the rapidly evolving world of e-commerce, Lily AI stands as a shining example of how artificial intelligence can revolutionize the retail industry. By seamlessly bridging the gap between the language of consumers and the stock descriptions provided by retailers, Lily AI has unlocked new levels of personalization and convenience in online shopping. The company’s unique approach, combining cutting-edge AI technology with the human touch of fashion experts, has not only improved customer satisfaction but also boosted the bottom line for major retailers.

Lily AI’s impressive track record, with retail giants like Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s reaping substantial benefits, demonstrates the tangible impact of its solutions. The ability to accurately match colloquial search terms to product attributes has resulted in increased conversion rates and revenue, making Lily AI an attractive investment for venture capital firms and retail leaders alike.

Beyond its accomplishments in the fashion industry, Lily AI’s potential knows no bounds. As the demand for AI-driven solutions continues to rise, the company’s versatile technology is poised to expand into other sectors, from travel to automobiles, offering its expertise in website discoverability to enhance the customer experience across a spectrum of industries.

Lily AI’s journey from a humble shopping app to an industry trailblazer illustrates the power of innovation and adaptability. With a commitment to clean data, an unwavering focus on consumer language, and a team of dedicated experts, Lily AI is at the forefront of a retail revolution that promises to make selling easier and more personalized than ever before. As we navigate the future of online shopping, Lily AI stands as a beacon of transformation, ushering in a new era of AI-driven retail excellence.