Not sure what to wear? ‘Look’, Amazon’s algorithms may help

Amazon wants to help you choose what to wear with a voice-controlled camera, the Echo Look, and an app that recommends which of two outfits is best, using fashion specialists’ advice and algorithms that check for the latest trends.

“With Echo Look, you can take full-length photos of your daily look using just your voice,” says Amazon. “The built-in LED lighting and depth-sensing camera let you blur the background to make your outfits pop, giving you clean, shareable photos. Get a live view in the Echo Look app or ask Alexa to take a short video so you can see yourself from every angle. View recommendations based on your daily look and use Style Check for a second opinion on what looks best. And, because Alexa is built in the cloud, she’s always getting smarter—and so will Echo Look.”

The company is already working to make its voice assistant Alexa, which competes with Apple’s Siri, an indispensable feature of people’s lives: from playing music to helping someone cook, and now to helping someone dress. The more commands it receives and data it processes improve Alexa’s understanding, making the service more useful.

The same holds true for Amazon’s new ‘Style Check’ service. Users submit two full-length photos of their outfits, taken by the Echo Look, and they receive recommendations that become “smarter through your feedback and input from our team of experienced fashion specialists,” Amazon said on its website. If successful, the service would not only give Amazon data on what outfits customers prefer, but it also would help shoppers equate Amazon with fashion – a lucrative market for online retailers.

Surging apparel sales are helping Amazon challenge Macy’s in the US as the dominant retailer in the category. The Echo Look “opens up a new realm of shopping experiences,” said Werner Goertz, an analyst at Garner. It may one day herald the use of augmented reality in e-commerce so shoppers can “try things on visually before you make your buying decision.”

The Echo Look’s camera – the first in an Alexa device, sales of which have reached more than 10 million – has the potential to be used for home surveillance, video conferencing and various enterprise applications, added Goertz. But not just anyone can buy the $199.99 Echo Look; for the moment it is only available “exclusively by invitation.”