Today, Amazon quietly launched the newest member of the Echo family: the Echo Look. The Look is the first Echo device to have a built-in camera, enabling you to take photos or videos hands-free with voice commands. It also has the same capabilities as its predecessors. But what is really interesting about the Echo Look is how Amazon is marketing it. One would think it would be marketed as some sort of home security camera with a voice assistant, but instead, Amazon is marketing it as a virtual fashion assistant.
The device has built-in LED lighting, a depth-sensing camera and a computer vision-based background blur “giving you clean, shareable photos.” Basically, it’s the ultimate selfie machine. And at only $20 dollars more than the Amazon Echo, that could be enough of a differentiator. Especially when you consider that over 24 billion selfies were uploaded to the Google Photos app last year alone.
In addition to taking photos and videos of your outfits, the Echo Look can also be a fashion consultant with Style Check. Users submit two photos for a second opinion and Style Check uses machine learning and advice from “experience fashion specialists” to pick the look that works best for you.
Alexa, Make Me Fashionable
I spent seven years working in the fashion industry. What really intrigues me about the Echo Look is the potential impact it could have for Amazon and fashion brands. Amazon states on its website that over time, Style Check will “get smarter through your feedback and input from our team of experienced fashion specialists.” So essentially if you use Style Check, Amazon will have a record of your entire closet. No brand has access to an entire person’s wardrobe. But now, Amazon will. The possibilities are endless when it comes to using this data to increase Amazon’s fashion e-commerce sales. Once Style Check learns what you like, Amazon could provide recommendations for new items. It could also provide options for you when you’re looking for something in particular, like shoes to go with a new dress or a new top to complement a pair of pants you already own.
Amazon as a Fashion House?
This kind of personalization should make any fashion brand envious. And could put even more pressure on brands to sell their products on Amazon. The company is already the biggest seller of clothes online in the US with apparel sales totaling $16.3 billion last year. Amazon has ramped up its investment in fashion over the past couple of years. It now even offers high-end designer lines, like Zac Posen and Stuart Weitzman. While it may seem strange that high-end brands who carefully curate a luxury image would sell their items on a website that also sells lightbulbs and coffee, it is a chance for them to reach an even larger audience. And there’s nothing like the convenience of ordering everything you need from one place from a consumer perspective.
The convenience factor is what has made fashion on Amazon a successful venture. But also what has kept Amazon for being known as a destination for fashion. If you know what you’re looking for, scrolling through dozens of pages on Amazon can be a bit trying. One advantage fashion e-commerce sites have had over Amazon is that they could offer a curated, well-merchandized shopping experience for their target market. But those days could be numbered. Amazon can now offer that with Style Check and the Echo Look. If consumers can get comfortable with taking style advice from a robot-like device.