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Building a dream boutique

Google’s online fashion venture, which launched last month, combines both fashion and celebrity to create a personalised experience in an online community. is an aggregate site that allows users to create their own virtual store online. To do this, users are given a selection of images, appearing two at a time, and must choose which picture most suits their style.

Once this is complete, the site then calculates the style type that most suits the user, for example romantic or street, and they are then invited to click on pre-selected looks that Google deems will match their style type. Users can save these preferences by creating an account.

Users are then taken through product category by category, such as dresses, tops and footwear. They can click on the styles, colours and patterns that they love or hate.

A personal boutique is then created that displays items Google recommends from various online retailers and brands. Users can browse and search through Google’s chosen items and save items to their boutiques. This filtering of product through user control gives a personalised experience that sites like Shop It To Me and eBay’s Fashion Outlet have already shown to be successful.

Google has also embraced a community element on - users can update personal information and share their boutique as well as search for and follow others.

When product in the boutique is hovered over, a pop-up box appears allowing users to click through directly to the retailer’s or brand’s transactional site.

The pop-up box also shows other items that are “visually similar”. This seems an odd choice of term compared with the widespread ‘complete the look’-type language.

With celebrities including Nicole Richie and Olivia Palermo owning boutiques, the site is sure to be popular. However, it remains to be seen how successful the concept will be after the hype has died down and becomes just another aggregate site in a competitive market. l

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