Ruti wants to know its customers – online and in-store

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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A specialty fashion retailer is scaling its highly personalized brick-and-mortar experience for the web.

California-based Ruti, which operates eight stores across the U.S. as well as an e-commerce site, has raised $6 million in a Series A funding round led by Viola Ventures. Ruti will use the investment to expand development of its proprietary in-store technology platform, including the addition of a customized digital experience.

The retailer is building upon a proprietary, artificial intelligence (AI)-based technology platform that provides brick-and-mortar customers with a hyper-personalized, high-touch experience. Using opt-in facial recognition technology, the system scans and photographs a customer’s face when they enter the store, with the image uploaded to Ruti’s CRM system.

The AI system can identify repeat customers within seconds, sending their history, profile, and individually recommended products to sales associates. In addition, the system continuously builds customers’ profiles, including past purchases, items they’ve tried on, and other attributes. Customer feedback gathered on the database influences inventory and design process for upcoming collections. Repeat customers account for 75% of Ruti’s business.

In addition to enhancing its online presence, over the next year, the company plans to expand its current team to support its online and offline growth and grow geographically to meet global customer demand.

“This funding will be used to bring the high-touch experience of our in-store experience to our online store,” said Ruti Zisser, CEO and co-founder of Ruti. “The traditional e-commerce approach might work for high frequency, low-cost items, but when it comes to unique products and truly personal customer relationships, we knew we had to develop a better approach.”