In 2010 there was a rise in online shopping, especially in the apparel section. According to Forrester Research , “Internet sales of apparel and accessories this year will account for 14 percent, or $25 billion, of the $173 billion that Americans will spend online.”
Of course, Google has found a way to drastically change how one does that. They’ve come up with an interesting concept in how to shop, share and view clothing and styles online. With the launch of Google’s ‘Boutiques’, they’ve discovered a new way to shop for designer clothing.
Cathy Horyn, from the NY Times, discusses the new site.
Boutiques.com has so many capabilities and components that even Google engineers have a hard time qualifying it. It is a collection of hundreds of virtual boutiques merchandised — or, in the new parlance, “curated” — by designers, retailers, bloggers, celebrities and regular folks. You can shop in the style of, say, the actress Carey Mulligan or Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen — among the celebrities who signed up for the launch — or you can build your own boutique and amass followers who can comment on your taste.
It is a place, then, to show off your fashion acumen, much as millions of Polyvore users already do with their picture collages.
It is also a source of inspiration. In every boutique on the site, there are dozens of additional choices inspired by a designer’s or celebrity’s style — generated by algorithms — with product photos that are much larger and sharper than on other shopping sites. And if you don’t know how to wear the leopard pumps you just bought, there’s a panel of street-style photos on the right side of the site that visualizes the shoes in more expressive modes. Indeed, whatever your style preference — classic, romantic, casual — the inspiration panel automatically adjusts for them, like a support group that can read your mind with surprising precision.
I’ve tested the website today and thought it was entirely different than anything I’ve seen. It is well-organized with a clean interface that is not too distracting. It’s fairly easy to guide yourself through it and find exactly what you’re looking for. Even if you’re just strolling through, you’ll find a variety of fashion tools at your fingertips. I look forward to their additions of designers, celebrities and clothing that they will add.
Check out the rest of Cathy Horyn’s article: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/18/fashion/18googlefashion.html?_r=2&ref=technology