I have one of those annoying ‘Web 2.0*’ job titles (Online Community Manager, y’all!) which means I’m predisposed to enjoy and understand social media. And I do, which is handy. As a digital writer type, I try my best to keep up with new social trends – much of this keeping up is done via Twitter, along with posting tweets about cheese and retweeting pretty much everything Katie Khan says.
*Any digital person worth their meta data knows that Web 2.0 is, like, totally over dude.
On Wednesday, Google announced something new and exciting – Boutiques.com. They describe the site on their official blog as “a new way to shop for fashion online”. The basic premise is that you create your own boutique, specifying your preferences in style, colour, pattern, designer and size. Google’s algorithm (what else?) analyses your choices and creates a synopsis of your style. The site is still in beta but I couldn’t wait to explore, so promptly registered and started building a boutique for A Little Bird Told Me.
First, you’re asked to choose between a series of two photos featuring apposing styles – kind of like a fashion Hot or Not. Now personally, I think Google should’ve just stopped here and let us be anonymously judgemental all day long. Although I suppose we have Lookbook.nu for that… Anyway, your preferences are totted up and you’re given your style synopsis:
My style was analysed as Casual Chic with some Classic thrown in for good measure. An excellent summary!
Next, you get to choose the things you love and hate. You filter through silhouettes, colours and patterns, then designers and sizes, choosing your favourites and ignoring those you’re not too keen on.
I have big love for a neutral palette with some bright primary colours, whereas tartan prints and empire line cuts are no nos.
When you’ve saved your choices, your boutique appears in all its glory!
The Little Bird Told Me boutique features catwalk looks and celeb outfits that match my preferences. The Blake Lively red dress and leather jacket combo is one of my favourites of the year. I also uploaded one of my own outfit shots!
You’re encouraged to share your boutique via email and Twitter and follow other boutiques you like. There’s also space to add your web address and a description of your style – all things we’re familiar with as socially savvy surfers.
Your boutique also features items handpicked for you from online shops across the web.
The algorithm works like an extended Google search would – it shows you the most relevant results based on your extensive preferences and your style synopsis. You can ‘love’ or ‘hate’ everything that appears in your boutique and give your reasons – by doing this, you’re constantly refining your boutique results and the selection of products you see will become more and more relevant.
As you’d expect, everything in your boutique is available to buy. At the moment the products are mostly from designer brands and everything is American, but this should change when the site is launched internationally.
My favourite feature is the search function – well, this is Google. It’s something I’d expect them to get right and I think it could become integral to online fashion shopping.
I searched for ‘wool jumper’, which returned pages of results filtered by my colour, style and brand preferences.
The extended information you get when you hover over a particular piece is great – I loved this cute doggie jumper by Markus Lupfer and can imagine wearing it with those stunning silver boots and that tasty piece of arm candy.
The inspiration side bar is a key feature of the search function – I love seeing outfits modelled by real people and some of my favourite bloggers appear here, giving me even more reason to buy! The side bar also features Polyvore sets and photos from various fashion community sites.
I really enjoyed setting up my boutique. Although I seem to do everything else online, shopping is one thing I do mostly offline. I’ll happily spend hours trudging from shop to shop, but flitting between the hundreds and hundreds of online stores seems like far too much effort. Ecommerce sites like ASOS are doing great things for the ‘everything in one place’ format, but I think Boutiques.com takes the next step – hopefully in time we’ll be able to search through all our favourite high street shops, filtering out the irrelevant as we go. So next time you simply must have the perfect pair of gold platform peep toes, in that specific shade of sparkle that compliments your LBD but doesn’t outshine your new Mulberry clutch, Boutiques.com might just make them easier to track down.
Have you tried Boutiques.com yet? What do you think? It’s it a service you’d find useful or do you prefer the physical experience of searching and shopping? Tell all in the comments.