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Helping ‘Jimmy Choose’: Software Enables Consumers to Find the Perfect Pair of Shoes

British company Cortexica has developed the first software in the world that will help consumers to purchase the perfect pair of shoes.

Launching on March 19th, “FindSimilar™ for Shoes” takes a photo of any sort of footwear and then analyses it against a database of images.  Working like a ‘visual search engine’ it displays a range of shoes with similar characteristics such as shape, colour and design and allows the consumer to choose from a tailored selection.  The technology works by mimicking the way the brain processes images and finds similarities.

The software, when embedded into an app or fashion website, will act as a personal shopping assistant.  Users can photograph a pair of shoes they like from a magazine or shop window and the software delivers similar, potentially better options.  These alternative options could save the customer money or help them to find more desirable products.

This is the first time that technicians have been able to programme computers to identify and recognise shapes in this way.  Shape is particularly important when searching imagery of shoes, handbags or fashion accessories.

When purchasing clothes or shoes online, shopping by pictures is the easiest way for consumers to find what they are looking for.  With the vast number of products now available on the Internet, this technology will help consumers find what they are looking for more easily, avoiding laborious drop down menus and endless style permutations.

Iain McCready, CEO of Cortexica, said: “Staying one step ahead of fashion is a constant challenge for many but we believe our technology helps consumers to do exactly this.  Once the search engine is embedded in an app, the software has the ability to help shoe shoppers narrow their search and make better choices, this could result in them finding similar and often better items available elsewhere.

“To date there are very few apps available for shoes and this technology promises to transform the market.  Several leading UK shoe brands and retailers are already testing our software.  When implemented, the technology is expected to boost m-commerce and increase transaction rates.  Our aim is to have every fashion shopper app use our visual search.”

This new visual search technology will be demonstrated this evening at the UK’s first ever ‘FashTech’ event at the Google Campus in Shoreditch, London.  Hosted by Cortexica, the event will feature a wide range of fashion technology start-ups such as Skadoosh, Mallzee, Styloko and Grabble.  There will be an industry panel discussing the convergence of technology and fashion, now a rapidly developing sector.

Christoph Luetke Schelhowe, responsible for the Customer Experience at Zalando, which is piloting the shoe finder technology, said:  “FindSimilar allows us to provide our customers with a completely new and very convenient way of online shopping – when they see a style they like on the catwalk or on the streets, they can directly choose from corresponding products in our shop.  Customers often recognise what they are looking for only when they see it.”

Cortexica already supplies their FindSimilar™ software that finds identical clothes items to a number of leading US retailers such as ShopStyle whilst they are in advanced talks with a number of UK and European High Street retailers and m-commerce sites.

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