Google Aids Fashion Discovery With New “Style Ideas” In Image Search

What Happened
Following the addition of “Similar Items” in image search earlier this week, Google is doubling down on surfacing related fashion products with a new “Style Ideas” feature. For fashion search results in the Google Android app and on mobile browsers, this feature will present a set of visually similar items, outfit montages, as well as real-life images featuring that item. The end result is somewhat akin to a Pinterest board created around that specific fashion products. Google says the “Style Idea” images are algorithmically selected without human involvement, using Google’s machine learning capabilities to identify the images featuring the product in question.

What Brands Need To Do
As the follow-up to “Similar Items,” this new feature indicates Google’s ambition in turning image search into a fashion shopping tool. While “Similar Items” only covers fashion accessories and shoes, “Style Ideas” will show up in the image search results for apparels. Together, these two features revitalize image search as a viable product discovery channel that fashion brands will need to pay attention to. While this feature currently runs on machine learning algorithms and is not monetized in any way, it is not hard to imagine how this could easily become a new ad product where fashion retailers selling the same items can bid to appear first.


Source: The Verge


Amazon Trials Checkout-Free Physical Retail Experience

What Happened
Amazon has started testing an innovative take on brick-and-mortar retail with a grocery store dubbed Amazon Go in Seattle that has no cashier or checkout line. Instead, the 1,800-square-foot store is blanketed with motion-capturing cameras and sensors, which allows it to leverage a powerful combination of computer vision and deep machine learning to keep track of the goods on and off the shelves, recognize each visitor, and create a virtual shopping cart on their phone. Once they are done shopping, they can just walk out of the store, confirm their purchases on their phones via automated receipts, and pay with their Amazon accounts. The store is only open to Amazon employees at the moment, but the company says it will be open to the public in early 2017.

What Retailers Should Do
This launch marks a crucial step in Amazon’s ambitious expansion into physical retail after the ecommerce giant tested the water with a few branded bookstores in select cities. More importantly, it unveils Amazon’s inspired vision for the future of retail as it proposes a frictionless, mobile powered shopping experience that eliminates one of the worst parts of grocery shopping – waiting in line for checkout.

While Amazon’s approach may seem a bit radical to some, there is no denying that smartphones are bringing a myriad of new possibilities into creating better in-store experiences. Walgreens, for example, has launched two initiatives aimed at delivering a more personalized shopping experience via its branded mobile app. Other retailers may not have the resources to attempt what Amazon is testing, but they need to take a cue and start leveraging mobile technologies to modernize their retail experiences.

For more information on how retailers can effectively reach connected consumers by taking a mobile-powered, omnichannel approach, check out the Boundless Retail section in our Outlook 2016.


Source: VentureBeat

Lead image is a screen capture from Amazon’s YouTube Video

Amazon Adds Photographic Product Search To iOS App

Amazon is raising the stakes of showrooming for retailers once again, folding its “Flow” technology, previously found in a standalone app released by its subsidiary, A9, into its main shopping app for iOS.  “Flow” is visual product search, allowing users to photograph an object and see details about it on Amazon, which is even simpler than the previous norm of barcode recognition.  Amazon’s competitive pricing is its main advantage in comparison to retailers, and by more effectively using other retailers as showrooms for the products it sells, it has the potential to further extend its dominance in more consumer categories.