From books to blouses, who would’ve guessed that Amazon would ever dominate the retail clothing business. But at every turn, they’ve silenced the doubters. And their steady investments in the Amazon Fashion Technology lineup continue to raise eyebrows. The latest is a machine learning algorithm called the Amazon Personal Shopper which will help stay effortlessly stylish.
Here’s what I think about their AI Stylist:
Amazon isn’t new to the fashion world.
The site’s fashion conquest began in 2002, when its marketplace first started selling clothes. [Then, their Shopbop acquisition in 2006.] Seven years later in 2009, Amazon purchased Zappos, at the time its biggest competitor, for a whopping $850 million.Alaina Demopoulos, The Daily Beast
Last month [March 2019], a report from the data analytics company CoreSight Research found Amazon Fashion to be the most-shopped apparel retailer in the United States, unseating Walmart as number one.
With a dual focus on affordable, popular clothing lines and an impressive technology lineup, Amazon surmounted any doubts that they could sell clothes.
Amazon Fashion Technology
First and foremost is the Prime Wardrobe. Essentially, it’s Amazon’s promise to let customers digitally shop without any risk. You get clothes in the mail, try them out, and send back whatever you don’t want. You pay for what you keep. It’s a hassle-free way of online shopping that has really caught on with other e-tailers.
Two years ago, they launched the Echo Look with Style Check. It’s a full-body selfie camera that compares photos of two different outfits and tells you which one looks better. Ideally, the machine learning stylist improves over time and can tap into current trends (but that’s still on the horizon).
Now the Amazon Personal Shopper seems to be a mix of a human stylist and an AI, basically to make sure that the recommended outfits are trendy and without error.
And then Amazon still has two secret weapons in their fashion arsenal. One, is the sheer amount of data collected every time someone makes a digital shopping decision. Two, their uncanny ability to move loads of product on Prime Day and any other time they choose.
All of this investment in fashion leads to one major point:
Analysts predict Amazon retail will be worth somewhere between $45 to $85 billion by 2020.Alaina Demopoulos, The Daily Beast
So where does Amazon retail fit in the grand scheme of fashion?
Effortless and Utilitarian
“A lot of people are not necessarily comfortable making fashion decisions,” Tyler McCall, deputy editor of Fashionista, told The Daily Beast. “That’s why we write trend wrap-ups, or the five things to buy at Zara this month to help people make the decision. The same reason I need somebody to tell me how to buy a vacuum cleaner, people want to know how to find a good winter coat that’s not $3,000.”Alaina Demopoulos, The Daily Beast
In this sense, Amazon may be more of a utilitarian service. They satisfy the people who know the importance of looking good but do not care to shop at all.
One of the Amazon brands, Lark & Ro, had the mission statement: “Our purpose is to simplify your life by serving up effortless style when you need it most.”Alaina Demopoulos, The Daily Beast
Effortless is rarely a word used with fashion. But it is a word that makes perfect sense in the context of Amazon. And I think the direction for Amazon in the fashion game will be toward a continued effortless, augmented experience for the shopper.
It’s a white glove service at gardening glove cost.