May 2, 2013, 5:06 PM

Snap a picture of a dress and find products that match its color

Double Prime invents a color-matching mobile app that retailers can brand.

Lead Photo

Double Prime's color-matching app matches a color from within a picture taken by a consumer with products in a retailer's catalog. Double Prime is just now starting to market the app.

Double Prime has a colorful vision for the future of shopping. The e-commerce and m-commerce platform provider, for example, sees a consumer shopping for make-up to match a new dress. She opens up a cosmetics retailer’s iPhone app, snaps a picture of the dress and touches the color on the picture. The app then displays all of the retailer’s make-up products that match the dress color. She finds the make-up she wants and presses the corresponding Buy button.

This week, Double Prime completed work on a prototype iPhone app it calls Prime Color that brings that scenario to life. It soon will begin marketing the app to retailers who can license it, give it a name and branding to match their own, and integrate it with their e-commerce and m-commerce systems. Double Prime has not yet set a price.

“The goal is to sell it to any company that organizes products by colors,” says Michael Tarquinio, vice president of operations at Double Prime. “It can be tremendously useful for seekers of clothing, paint, makeup, anything color oriented.”

The heart of the app is a system that compares the “hex value” of every color. Hex value is a term from the world of design, where all colors are broken down by hex value, a series of numbers associated with the RGB (red, green, blue) colors that together make up a unique color.

The app determines the hex value of the color selected from the picture taken by the consumer. Some retailers and consumer brand manufacturers steeped in color include hex values for products in their product databases, Tarquinio says. For retailers that don’t have hex values for their products, Double Prime can run all product images from a retailer’s data feed through its Prime Color system and assign hex values. The retailer then would need to add a field in its product database for hex values.

For many product categories, color is a major factor in a consumer’s decision-making process, Tarquinio says.

“If you can store in a warehouse 50 colors where your competitors can only store five, how do you get customers to know you have that long tail of stock in all those colors?” he says. “With the app we can give them an easy and unique way to search by color.”

Double Prime provides e-commerce technology for more than 100 e-commerce sites in 25 countries for various retail clients, including 15 luxury brands, the company says. Double Prime has a team of more than 100 developers and project managers across the United States who work on e-commerce platforms, mobile commerce app development, content management systems and design services.

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