Amazon's 'Outfit Compare' mobile feature tells users what to wear

Dive Brief:

  • Amazon has developed an “Outfit Compare” feature, now available on the newest version of the Amazon shopping app, that allows Amazon Prime members to share photos of themselves wearing two different outfits, and receive ratings from Amazon stylists and fashion experts.

  • Users who share photos will receive responses a minute or so later, with recommendations based on a variety of factors, including how the clothes fit, what colors look best on the user, how they’re styled and what styles are trending, according to TechCrunch.

  • The “Outfit Compare” can be found in the app under the “Programs and Features” section in the navigation sidebar. Amazon says the photos shared will only be viewed by Amazon staff, and can be deleted from the app at any time.

Dive Insight:

Today, bots can help consumers pick out lipstick and augmented reality can assist in make-up application, so why not a mobile app feature with a slightly more old-fashioned approach? Sharing photos with someone who offers feedback may not seem old-fashioned to some, but most of the technology involved in this feature seems more of the last decade than the age of bots and AR.

That's all fine, as long as it does what it's supposed to do. Amazon indicated that it has a variety of stylists from different backgrounds on hand to compare outfits, but we're guessing users may need to try the feature a few times before deciding how seriously to take the feedback. The new feature reportedly uses a style scale that helps users get a sense of how enthusiastic the expert's response is. Options include “Definitely pick this one,” “We like this better” and “It was a close call,” according to TechCrunch. Is that enough, though, or will users want a more detailed analysis complete with specific reasons why one outfit is better than another?

Amazon isn't charging for this feature, which might lead some to ask what its angle is on launching it. It may see Outfit Compare as providing some added value to the app that will get users to linger, but Amazon's history of innovation in the area of personalized product recommendations suggests it's likely about more than just promoting app usage. It could use photos of users to create recommendations of other outfits for them that just happen to be on sale at Amazon, or perhaps run analytics on the type of outfits most often submitted to Outfit Compare and use that information for its own inventory purposes.

In that case, it may not get very far if users with privacy concerns decide to quickly delete their photos after they have been submitted. This may all boil down to how much users trust Amazon, but if users are ready to ask Amazon what they should wear, then maybe Amazon is already at least one small step closer to obtaining that trust.

Filed Under: Technology Consumer Trends E-commerce Mobile Commerce