The First 90 Days: Stitch Fix’s New CEO Is Looking at AI and Machine Learning Strengths to Build Long-Term Strategy

Liz Dominguez
Managing Editor
Stich Fix

Retail and personalized shopping service Stitch Fix has a new CEO at the helm, and 90 days in, he’s looking at the company’s digital strengths in order to craft a long-term strategy that will build on existing efforts. 

In a recent call with investors, Matt Baer, CEO of Stitch Fix, said he is working closely with the company’s executive leadership team to inform a long-term strategy that expands on the existing “compelling, differentiated and innovative experience powered by advanced technology, offering personalization, convenience and service at scale.”

Fundamental to the company’s model are personalization algorithms, AI, machine learning, and data science, he said. 

“It is clear that these capabilities are changing the way companies create and deepen relationships with customers,” added Baer. “And while they have certainly become popular buzzwords among retailers who are investing heavily to catch up, they have been part of the DNA of Stitch Fix since its inception and something we will build upon going forward.”

Baer believes doubling down on these technologies will help elevate client experiences to continue delivering personalization, strengthen profitability, and invest carefully to drive growth. Offline shopping is often cumbersome and time-consuming, he said, but online shopping in general is leaving much to be desired. 

“Although the online experience has gotten better, it is still too focused on session-level conversion and lacks the inspiration and personalization that make great style, great fit, and great value attainable,” said Baer.

“Looking ahead, I am confident that being data-led, customer-centric, and technology-driven will continue to be key contributors to ensuring that every client engagement, interaction and solution is personalized.” — Matt Baer, CEO of Stitch Fix

What does that future look like? According to Baer, Stitch Fix will continue to evolve the application of AI and human touch, continuing its combination of data science and human connection. 

“Doing this will ensure we are consistently investing in new capabilities to bring stylists and clients closer together, creating new ways of interacting with clients and continuing to advance our operational capabilities to be optimized for scale,” he emphasized. “The leadership team and I are aligned and focused on delivering long-term profitable growth.”

Matt Baer headshot
Matt Baer, CEO of Stitch Fix; Credit: Stitch Fix

Baer brings a heavy dose of digital experience to the role. He joined Stitch Fix this past summer, previously holding the title of chief customer and digital officer at Macy’s, where he oversaw the growth and long-term vision for Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s digital businesses. Prior to that, he was VP of e-commerce for 

[Also read: Stitch Fix Taps Marc Jacobs for Marketing Chief]

The company has been committed to growing its digital capabilities over the last several years, laying off 15% of its salaried staff last year in mostly non-tech roles. 

“We are centralizing a number of key capabilities and streamlining decision-making to drive efficiencies in how we operate and deliver experiences,” president Elizabeth Spaulding said in an earlier earnings call. “We are also ensuring that we are allocating resources to our most critical priorities. Going forward, we will continue to innovate our client experience and broaden our offering.”

During the same time period, Stitch Fix updated its core recommendation algorithm to unify data from client interactions across both its Fix and Freestyle offerings. This pivoted the company’s algorithms from focusing a client’s set of specific attributes to focusing on understanding consumers via their interactions with Stitch Fix over time. 

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