Next time you open your closet and immediately decide you hate everything in it, don’t despair! As long as you have Instagram, there’s now an easy way to get free fashion advice: Online retailer Zappos is giving people who ask for help on Instagram personal style recommendations.
If you take a selfie and use the hashtag #NextOOTD, a Zappos personal shopper will look through your Instagram photos and recommend products that fit with your personal style. So far, only around 170 people have taken advantage of this almost too-good-to-be-true promotional stunt, which is good for Zappos, since the style-selection process is manual and requires an employee to scour Instagram accounts to come up with custom recommendations.
When your collection of style recommendations is ready, Zappos will comment on your Instagram photo and direct you to the page it generated through its Glance app, which provides personalized shopping recommendations for users.
Zappos appears to have reached out to people with fashion followings on Instagram to test-drive the project. Even a former Miss California got style advice from the company:
The whole thing was created in Zappos Labs, the company’s R&D wing. As a small-scale stunt, it’s ingenious. Instagram users already use the hashtag #ootd (which stands for “outfit of the day”) to show off what they wear. There are over 24 million photos on Instagram with that hashtag; posting style photos is a popular habit.
This is still a small experiment, but it highlights how innovative online retailers can be when they think of novel ways to combine social media habits and online retail habits. If #NextOOTD encourages people to buy clothing through Zappos, or if people like it enough to sign up for a paid subscription for a similar service, personalized shopping tips based on social media could become part of the retailer’s larger strategy.