“Where did you get that?” It’s a question cooed at parties and in powder rooms, often asked by women, the tone edged with both envy and admiration. What if there was an app for that?
A new Canadian fashion tech startup wants to bridge that moment of envy with a seamless shopping experience by making the styles around you (both online and IRL) ‘shoppable’. Craves is a clothing discovery app that uses image recognition technology to help people find and buy the fashion they love.
Powered by the Slyce visual search platform, the app enables users to search for retail items by uploading any image from their camera roll, a screenshot, or from a social network (think Pinterest & Tumblr). The app then sorts through a million products available from 100 retailers, including Yoox, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord and Taylor, Neiman Marcus and ASOS to find you visually similar, purchasable results.
“Slyce’s visual search technology is already used by a number of large retail clients such as JC Penny and Neiman Marcus,” said Craves co-founder Scott Cormier. “Craves is leveraging that technology to partner with a number of mid-to-high end retailers like J Crew and Nasty Gal to offer a full search shopping experience.”
Craves isn’t the only player in the image recognition game. Cortexica in San Francisco also offers similar services.
Cormier said that what makes the app special compared to just a standard Google image search is its social network component. “We’ve added in the ability to follow your friends and influencers to see what they’re ‘craving’ (the app’s equivalent of ‘liking’ and ‘hearting’ on Facebook and Instagram).”
Cormier told me the app was inspired by his wife, who was always snapping and screenshottingpictures of outfits she admires but then struggling to find similar items for purchase. Craves caters to that moment where you’ve seen a piece of clothing you crave and offers itself as a simple, integrated solution.
Craves makes its money via affiliate marketing (taking a cut on sales brokered to brands) so it has a vested interest in showing you products you’ll want. “If we notice someone is often craving products from a particular retailer, we’re going to show these merchants higher in your search results, because these are results that are applicable to you,” Cormier said.
For now, Craves is only available for iOS with no plans to roll out on Android anytime soon.