Amazon’s AI-Enabled StyleSnap Is Ideal for Fashion Market

Amazon, which launched its new StyleSnap feature to select iOS and Android users in April, will soon make the in-app tool widely available, said company worldwide consumer head Jeff Wilke at the company’s re:MARS AI conference in Las Vegas. Users can reach StyleSnap via a shortcut found by tapping the camera icon in the Amazon app’s upper right-hand corner. Based on image recognition, the machine learning-enabled StyleSnap (and Pinterest Lens competitor) will offer similar items to any photo or screenshot uploaded by a user. The algorithms also incorporate computer vision and deep learning.

VentureBeat reports that Wilke stated, “the simplicity of the customer experience belies the complexity of the technology behind it.” The algorithm can identify “indoor images with dim lighting” as well as “apparel items in photos regardless of setting.” It can also classify apparel into categories such as “fit-and-flare dresses” or “flannel shirts.”

Amazon also just partnered with L’Oréal “to let mobile shoppers test out different shades of lipstick on live pics and videos of themselves,” leveraging L’Oréal’s ModiFace augmented reality platform and artificial intelligence. Previously, Amazon launched the Echo Look, “a connected camera that combines human and machine intelligence to recommend styles, color-filter clothes, compare two outfits, and keep track of what’s in personal wardrobes.” It’s tied into Prime Wardrobe, which is similar to Stitch Fix and Trunk Club “that lets users try on clothes and send back what they don’t want to buy.”

In a move that VB calls “undoubtedly related,” Amazon also debuted makeup products with its in-house apparel label. A 2016 A.T. Kearney survey revealed that 60 percent of U.S. women who “shop online for beauty products start their searches at Amazon.” Edge by Ascential reported that “sales of health and personal care items on the platform totaled $1.9 billion in the second quarter of 2018, while sales for beauty products were up 26 percent at $950 million.”

The Verge reports that StyleSnap is aimed to help Amazon crack the fashion market. But, it adds, “it remains to be seen if StyleSnap can live up to Amazon’s claims.” Identifying similar items of clothing “doesn’t really help consumers who can usually identify these items themselves.”

“Whether or not the feature can match niche items and styles will be the real challenge,” says The Verge, which previously reviewed Echo Look and “found the software regularly made mistakes, failing to identify different outfits in images and churning out the same tips over and over.” The launch of StyleSnap shows Amazon isn’t ready to give up on breaking into the fashion market. But if it fails, “lots of startups offer similar services, including online fashion giant ASOS.”