Shopping for fashion on the web can be an overwhelming experience. Not only can you find an unlimited amount of clothing on the e-commerce sites of retailers like Nordstroms and Saks.com, but there are also plethora of web-based sites that offer deals for fashion, including Bluefly, Zappos and ShopBop. I love snagging great deals on designer and high-end clothes but simply don’t have the time to peruse all of these sites to find sales for clothes that are in my size and fit my style.
The folks who brought us Riya and visual shopping search engine Like.com have launched Covet.com, a site that acts as a free virtual personal shopper and pseudo stylist for users. Covet will first determine your style based on your responses to a series of photos and outfits worn by celebrities. I found myself choosing between a Chanel-clad Anna Wintour or a leggings-clad Lindsay Lohan. Covet also determines your clothing preference by letting users choose between images that could represent varying types of style (the Eiffel Tower vs. the Golden Gate Bridge, Beer vs. Champagne).
After a series of these decisions, Covet ask you to specify your shoe and clothing sizes and then gives you a profile based on your choices. Style categories vary from edgy urban to sporty eclectic to couture glam, which you can change if Covet gets it wrong. You can also edit your style to filter suggestions by desired (or hated) brands, colors, and styles you prefer when it comes to clothing, shoes and accessories.
Once your style is established, Covet will send you either daily or weekly emails with clothing and shoes found over thousands of online merchants that fit your style and are available in your size. Emails will include two sections of recommendations: those that are on sale and new but full-priced arrivals. If you click on the item in the email, you will be led to a Covet landing page, where you can then click to buy the item directly from the retailer. Covet’s co-founder Munjal Shah says that the site will soon let users indicate if the suggested items fit their style, and Covet will use this knowledge to make more accurate suggestions in the future.
Covet crawls the sites of more than 5,000 retailers and uses the same image recognition technology to group together similar products as Like.com. Covet’s business model is also similar to that of Like.com; Covet makes money on a pay-per-click basis. Each time a user clicks to a retailer’s site, Covet takes a small cut. The same model has proved to be lucrative for Like.com, showing steady revenue growth for a young startup. The company, which launched in 2006, reached a $1 million annual run rate within a year and hit a $20 million revenue run rate last year. Shah says that Like.com’s current run rate is well over $20 million in revenue.
Covet’s main competition is ShopItToMe.com, another personalized shopping service on the web. ShopItToMe requires you to filter desired results solely by brand and size whereas Covet creates a profile based on style, color, brand, fit and size. Both are useful for online personal shopping but Covet’s style analysis adds an interesting twist to service. I do think that daily emails about available products could get a little spammy but both services let you choose to receive the alert emails once or twice a week instead of every day.