Amazon has nearly taken over the e-commerce industry by utilizing targetted ads and artificial intelligence. Now, the company wants to help customers find the perfect outfits using many of the same technologies.
Amazon announced its newest product StyleSnap during the re: MARS 2019 conference. Similar to the music identification app Shazam, users can use StyleSnap to find clothes matching their favorite celebrities or influencers.
StyleSnap is AI-powered and uses deep learning algorithms to find a wide range of clothes for users. The feature is located inside of Amazon’s app and customers can upload their own pictures or screenshots to let StyleSnap work its magic. The tool then returns a list of similar suggestions, taking price, brand, and customer reviews, into consideration.
The company said that creating StyleSnap wasn’t easy. The algorithm needed to be fed various kinds of images, so that it could accurately identify different garments.
“While StyleSnap presents a seamless experience for customers, building this feature was no easy feat,” the company said in blog post. “Lifestyle images and influencer posts are unpredictable, with poses as varied as the locations.”
The potential success of StyleSnap could prove lucrative for influencers. Big-time Instagram users and other influencers who participate in Amazon’s Influencer Program could be eligible to receive commissions for purchases they inspire.
Amazon said it uses residual networks to overcome its vanishing gradient problem — an issue that arises when algorithms are fed too much information and are unable to accurately identify items.
The residual networks allow “the network to learn new concepts while also remembering things it has learned in the past – this is critical for enabling StyleSnap to work through large volumes of data effectively.”
Some are skeptical about the efficacy of StyleSnap, considering Amazon’s past attempts to bring AI into the fashion industry. Amazon’s Echo Look camera was essentially supposed to do the same thing as StyleSnap; however, the device often made mistakes and recommended the same clothes to users, according to a review by the Verge.
StyleSnap is Amazon’s latest move to put a stronger hold on e-commerce and customers’ shopping experiences. As the company continues to build out its technologies, it will be interesting to see how and if it integrates ad targeting plus third-party data use into the feature.