We love fashion at Echidna, and we also happen to love new technologies related to fashion eCommerce, such as shoppable images. Another concept that we find equally compelling would be that of image recognition applied to the fashion space, which several retailers have toyed with in the past. But now, the German retailer Zalando has actually put pen to paper with a new image recognition feature in its mobile app. Working with Cortexica, Zalando developed fashion image recognition technology, allowing users to search by image and be shown results of clothing items that are similar in style and appearance. They’re rolling out the new feature in the UK, and Robert Schütze — Zalando’s UK country manager — recently highlighted what we think is the most compelling aspect of image recognition for fashion:
This innovative tool pays specific attention to the context in which our customers visit Zalando. Moreover, we are able to extend our inspirational approach as customers often recognise what they are looking for only when they see it.
With image recognition, instead of creating demand out of thin air by pushing products on users with advertisements or imagery on its website, Zalando is simply utilizing a user’s own sense of style to sell its products. People usually know their own tastes best, but they don’t always know exactly what they want until they see it. When they do see it, image recognition technology like Zalando’s ensures that a person is able to get the exact type of item that he or she wants. In the end, this obviously benefits the retailer, but it also improves the entire experience for customers, a real win-win situation.