November 19, 2010, 10:07 AM

Amazon enables consumers to search for footwear by shape

The feature aims to make it easier for consumers to find the right fit.

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Amazon.com Inc. today said it would enable shoppers seeking shoes to cull through the site’s footwear offerings by the shape of the shoe.

Amazon, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, offers the search tool for both men’s and women’s shoes.

When a consumer searches for women’s shoes, for instance, eight small boxes appear along the left edge of the page. Each box contains a gray representation of different shoe shapes, including sandals, heels, boots and loafers. Consumers can click on the shapes to call up footwear that matches the desired pattern. The goal is to get consumers as quickly as possible to the shoes they want to buy without those customers having to know the names of their desired styles.

Amazon uses algorithms developed by its A9.com Inc. subsidiary for the new search tool.

“With launch of this new search feature, finding the right pair of shoes becomes even easier for customers,” says Bill Stasior, president of A9. “The customer is presented with a palette of shapes, representing different styles of shoes and that palette is constantly changing to match the customer’s context. Because the styles are show graphically as silhouettes, customers don’t even need to know the name of the styles they are exploring.”

The launch of the visual recognition feature comes days after Google Inc. launched a new fashion e-commerce site, Boutiques.com, that enables consumers to search visually for products using photo-recognition technology, including by pattern.

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