Will Amazon’s Echo Look be a clothes selling machine?

Photo: Amazon
Apr 28, 2017
George Anderson

Amazon.com’s new Echo Look will handle all of the tasks that previously introduced models have done, such as playing music and allowing users to order items from the e-tailer’s site. What stands out about this digital assistant is that it also comes with a camera enabling users to take full-length photos of themselves in different clothing to get feedback on what works and what doesn’t.

According to The Verge, leaks about the Echo Look began last month, speculation that the product would be a security camera. While that could still be true, Amazon is promoting the device as a fashion advice device.

The camera, with the help of built-in LED lighting and computer vision-based background blur, has been designed to enable users to create a personal lookbook, which can be shared with friends and Amazon.

The Look also comes with the Style Check feature, which uses “advanced machine learning algorithms and advice from fashion specialists” to provide feedback to users on their various looks. If not sure what to wear on any given day, users can submit two photos using Style Check. The app will provide an opinion based on criteria including fit, color, styling and current fashion trends.

All of the information being collected will also be used to help in providing future purchasing suggestions. According to Amazon, “Echo Look helps you discover new brands and styles inspired by your lookbook.”

A potential pitfall for Amazon’s sales of the new device may be personal security concerns. A video of Echo Look on YouTube, which has nearly 300,000 views, had more thumbs down than up votes. One person on the page’s discussion thread asked, “Is the camera always looking just as the speaker is always listening?”

The new device, which is available by invitation from Amazon, sells for $199.99 including shipping.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How do you expect the Echo Look to affect Amazon’s apparel sales over time? Will privacy concerns inhibit adoption of the device? How do you see other clothing retailers and brands responding?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
"It seems like the answer to those of us who wish we had a personal shopper to help make apparel decisions."
"Data drives what Alexa would say, and how can data take the place of original inspiration? I’m curious about that."
"Tom Redd is spot on. I know plenty of people who unplug their regular Alexa device because they don’t want it listening all the time. "

Join the Discussion!

17 Comments on "Will Amazon’s Echo Look be a clothes selling machine?"

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Zel Bianco

I think it will be a winner for apparel sales. It may take longer from older consumers who worry more about privacy concerns but the young among us, those young in age and young at heart, will embrace it. Privacy be damned.

Bob Phibbs

I can’t imagine a man or woman over 30 using such a thing. There’s a creep factor of it looking and analyzing you. Let’s face it, most of us don’t look like those in the video who would be sharing or storing. But it’s a brilliant use of technology to wed more users to the artificial teat that is Amazon.

Adrian Weidmann

Voluntarily inviting this camera into your home will assure that you will be stripped of any privacy you might have left! Bose is tracking and monitoring your listening habits, your whereabouts are being tracked by your mobile device (which also has a camera!) and you’re telling Siri about your life! We are living in an Orwellian world! You place Echo Look into your private life at your own risk! You are being (and will be) watched — ALL the time! Be afraid — be very afraid!

Max Goldberg

Why fuss with taking a selfie, when Echo Look can take a great picture or video for you? I think Look will increase Amazon’s market share of apparel and I expect Amazon to find many other uses for the device as time goes on. Online porn should have a field day with it.

Shawn Harris

Version 1.0 of “Echo Look” will get you comfortable with using the technology and seeing yourself in your clothes with Look’s unique image treatment. However, subsequent versions will get you buying, leveraging augmented reality to overlay virtual goods on your body with the same image treatment, making it feel like an item you already own.

Frank Riso

It cannot hurt to offer more ways to sell to the consumer. Echo will do that, however a full length mirror does a lot too! If anyone has a concern with the camera at times, it does have a plug that can be a real way to turn it completely off. Privacy is not a real concern if you own an Echo, it is a neat device for music and a host of other apps. Clothing retailers will need to update their apps to work with Echo as well as their online site as well. All in all this is a good upgrade for Echo but I’m not sure I need to upgrade mine just for fashion — for security it could be a plus.

Joan Treistman

I’m inclined to think this new device will do just fine. It seems like the answer to those of us who wish we had a personal shopper to help make apparel decisions. Privacy concerns can be a deterrent but I’m thinking that a tea cozy type of coverlet may be the remedy and I can buy it on Amazon.

Populating the content and algorithm that supplies the “opinions” is hazy to me. Brands that want to grow awareness among potential users can possibly buy into the process or not. Is this where Amazon enjoys another larger revenue stream?

Jasmine Glasheen

The photo feature will prove a popular addition and will make smartphone tripods obsolete. But if the style check algorithm only helps choose between two outfits, I don’t see it being much of a draw.

Hopefully Amazon is setting the stage for a future device with the capability to provide fashion suggestions based on the user’s current outfit and wardrobe.

Ken Lonyai

Absolutely nothing that wasn’t anticipated (see my previous comments on Alexa). I’ve been involved in a similar assistive project and others have these features, but not all in one place. The differentiator here is that Amazon has the momentum of a freight train and the ubiquity of air, so they are best positioned to make this and future assistive features commonplace.

By the way — this is another kidney punch to retailers that are too slow to invest in their future, some of which will ultimately be ground into paste by this trend.

Tom Redd

Great use of technology for PR. This supposed process — based on lighting colors, tints and resolution will turn out to not work well for Amazon. They will suggest outfits that are off-color. Just watch.

What parent would use this or even let their kids near it? What Millennial is going to risk their personal brand within their profession on this? The first sex offender in some mess with this device will get more air time on major networks than United got. After the first major news mess with this device Amazon can learn more about negative press and how to gain from it.

Laura Davis-Taylor
Laura Davis-Taylor
Co-Founder, HighStreet Collective
2 years 5 months ago

As a female, a retail consultant and a shopper, I’m hesitant to support this. There’s a huge debate out there on AI and if it can indeed take on creativity successfully. Data drives what Alexa would say, and how can data take the place of original inspiration? I’m curious about that. Also, the other thing is that this is very scary to me — it’s a carrot to open people’s homes up to camera tracking. No way.

Pavlo Khliust

The camera should not be a pitfall in this case as youngsters are online almost 24/7 anyway, without the slightest concerns about privacy.

For apparel retailers, Echo Look may become a huge selling platform. Having their apps or websites integrated with this system, they’ll have an opportunity to enhance consumer’s current looks by recommending similar outfits or offering clothes to match with each other.

Companies, however, might get afraid of the need to upgrade their sales channels from the technical side. The concern is reasonable but, from my experience, I know that incorporating “what’s hot” and re-developing existing systems is quite affordable and definitely worth it!

Rick Moss

My wife: “Does this look OK?”
Me: “Um, sure. Yes. You look nice.”
Wife: “You don’t like it. Why don’t you like it.”
Me: “I thought I said I liked it. It’s really nice. Wear it.”
Wife: “I’ll put on something else.”

Alexa, if you can replace me in this role, you’re hired.

Martin Mehalchin

Tom Redd is spot on. I know plenty of people who unplug their regular Alexa device because they don’t want it listening all the time. The privacy concerns with this one will be off the charts! Russian hacking and similar news stories will slow adoption of Alexa and similar devices.

Brian Kelly
2 years 5 months ago
Keep it out of your home! For me, beyond creepy — way too much intrusion. All seeing to go along with all hearing. NO WAY! With that out of the way, this could be very helpful for addressing the needs of folks who aren’t able to get to a “store.” I once fit a skirt for a top global female ad executive in her office conference room. If a video link was available, it would have been a great help. Her time was precious (her nails were just done in her office). As long as the person on the other end of the link was as competent as a “haberdashery” sales person back in the day, it could take convenient service to another and relevant level. Seems like something Rebecca Minkoff would add to her arsenal of gadgetry. Walmart ought to add this feature to those brands (Moosejaw, bonobos, Modcloth, shoefly) it just acquired, it could help thwart the perception of negative brand WMT interference with the preferred brand. Love it! Just not in my… Read more »
Art Suriano
There are two different arguments. I agree with Bob that anyone over 30 probably would not be comfortable using such a product. A few years ago, there was a company called Me-Ality that had strong financial backing who was opening mall kiosks in the US. The kiosk contained an enclosed full body scanner, looking very much like what we were using at airports. The scanner would scan the customer and then provide that customer with a printout letting him or her know where they could find the best fitting jeans for them at the mall. Stores participated and there was no charge to the customer. They built it up to about 40 malls. Unfortunately, it did not survive because customers were very apprehensive about using it. With Echo, of course, you’re not standing in a shopping mall with people watching you so in that regard it’s more private. However, it is in the cloud and many people will be concerned about them being watched, photographed or videotaped, without their knowledge. Now there is the other… Read more »
Stefan Weitz

This is how it begins. For a while now we have said that Amazon is at a disadvantage because of their lack of in-store experiences like clienteling. With this technology, they have effectively overcome one of the last barriers to buying clothes online. They already allow for free shipping (often overnight or same day) and free returns and now they are able to have concierge like service without the customer ever having to leave home. Combine this with their MayDay service on their tablets, and suddenly you have the potential for concierges for any product — again, without having to get off your couch. This is a big deal.

"It seems like the answer to those of us who wish we had a personal shopper to help make apparel decisions."
"Data drives what Alexa would say, and how can data take the place of original inspiration? I’m curious about that."
"Tom Redd is spot on. I know plenty of people who unplug their regular Alexa device because they don’t want it listening all the time. "

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