Remember that scene in Clueless where Cher claims to have a “way normal life for a teenage girl,” then strolls into her walk-in wardrobe and scans possible outfit combinations on her computer? Back in 1995, such technology seemed as unlikely to exist in the real world as FaceTime. Nope, we’d have to manually flick through our wardrobes to find a tartan mini-skirt and matching jacket.
And yet, here we are, with an endless scroll of outfits on online shopping sites, finding the perfect dress to match with a new pair of shoes is as easy as swiping your thumb across your smartphone.
The biggest challenge when it came to the early days of online shopping was finding the source of something seen on Instagram or in the real world. You’d spend time scouring sites in the hope of locating the same dress you’d seen a guest wear at a wedding or the shoes you spotted on a fellow train commuter.
But the most sophisticated companies are using this little bit of fashion magic to fuse real-world finds with digital solutions – proof we’ve well and truly surpassed the fanciful technology we envied in the 90s cult classic.
"Snap to Shop is a visual search tool that helps customers shop products they see in real life, on THE ICONIC. It combines the best of offline shopping, such as finding items with the right colour, material, size and fit, with the best of online shopping pricing and convenient delivery," says Peter Petrovski, Lead Product Owner.
The function uses emergent technology of image recognition and machine learning to understand what items the user is taking a photo of and finding the same or similar products on THE ICONIC.
Unlike Cher, we’re not limited to finding outfits that are already in our wardrobe. There’s a whole world of options out there now. So you’ll never be ensemble-y challenged again.
"We have leveraged this data and technology to create new experiences, like a ‘find similar’ button on every product in the catalogue to help you discover similar items, and we’re also leveraging the technology to power our ‘Wear it with’ features to help customers shop complete outfits," Peter says.
He predicts this is just the beginning. Soon there’ll be even more sophisticated ways to update your wardrobe without leaving your couch. "We are constantly improving both the technology and customer experience to bring this future to our customers,” he says.