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The WantList asks shopping enthusiasts to swipe left or right

A new iOS-based application, The WantList, mimics the visual interface of dating apps by asking shopping enthusiasts to make a match by swiping left or right on selected clothing items.

Designed by fashion discovery engine Styloko, the app enables users to pick up where they left off in terms of browsing across any device, and swipe through a variety of clothing items that match styles the consumer has previously liked. Fashionistas may be seeing these types of apps gain more traction, as on-the-go consumers clamor for the ability to easily find new outfits on mobile, as well as locate items similar to pieces they see on the street.

“The key aspect to a swipe-based interface is its ability to match users to something that may interest them and register back that interest so that algorithmically they are delighted each time they return to the app,” said Shannon Edwards, CEO of Styloko, London, Britain.

“We are focused on helping a busy woman discover fashion easily without having to necessarily use text-based search. Swiping left or right allows us to cut down the millions of products available via the app to a more manageable number that better reflects her individual tastes and preferences.”

Personalizing the experience
Fashion enthusiasts who turn to mobile for on-the-go browsing will be able to enjoy a personalized shopping experience with The WantList app, which analyzes a user’s preferences based on the initial few swipes. Similar to several dating apps, users can swipe right to indicate they like an item, and swipe left if they are not interested in the presented piece.

The WantList’s visual technology also helps users locate ideal products according to price point. Consumers will be able to view luxurious and lower-priced alternatives of items.

The app curates product feeds from a slew of major retailers and brands.

“Visual product matching technology is one of the more important and game-changing features available to consumers and marketers seeking to reach them,” Ms. Edwards said. “The reason is simply down to the lack of scope available within text-based search.

“By adding this feature, we’ve started to eliminate the need for a consumer to describe what she is looking for – which can be frustrating, incredibly hard to do (some patterns defy description!) or produce inaccurate results,” she said. “Visual discovery is more akin to browsing through a store and picking out what looks interesting.

“Also, for brands, it opens up the possibility to be discovered. Many smaller brands and companies increasingly are lost in a sea of aggregation; but here they have a chance to stand out based on core product features.”

Luxe or less
The ability to select high-end or lower-priced versions of similar items will ensure a wider consumer outreach. This feature is available for dresses, jackets and tops, with an expansion for more styles forthcoming.

The WantList currently offers the app for iPhones, iPads and the Apple Watch, with a rollout for Android devices to follow this summer. The swiping style will likely be well-suited to the smartwatch, as consumers can easily view products on the home screen and indicate their interest with the tap of a finger.

If they are interested in looking more closely at items, they pick up where they left off once on a mobile device.

Styloko believes that The WantList marks a strategic step forward in helping shoppers find what they are searching for across any device. The app aims to bring a tailored experience that leverages the opportunities and limitations of each digital channel, from screen size to when and where shoppers prefer to use their devices.

As mobile now accounts for more than 50 percent of consumer traffic to Styloko and its merchant partners, the discovery engine hopes these features will provide a better opportunity to monetize and engage with visitors on the desktop site as well.

“We are very excited by how our app uses visual technology to give users ‘luxe’ or ‘less’ versions of items they like,” Ms. Edwards said. “You can find a beautiful dress that’s now out of your price range and easily be matched to something similar.

“In the past, this type of ‘get the look for less’ feature was either inaccurate if automated, or sometimes uninspiring if manual,” she said. “So this is going to increase conversion and delight customers who use the feature.

“Also, the ability to pick up where you left off – while browsing across device is quite key. We launched this app as part of a multi-device strategy which recognizes that sometimes you only have five minutes in line at Starbucks but want to further consider an item when back at your desk or at home.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York