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Marks & Spencer launches Style Finder photo search

Marks & Spencer launched Style Finder, a photo search feature on its mobile website, enabling shoppers to discover a desired look in what it says is ‘just a couple of taps’.

Customers can upload an existing photo or take a new one of any outfit to reveal similar-looking products available at M&S, offering a quick and easy way to shop online.

M&S says whether they are inspired by fashion finds on social media, an outfit in a magazine or a product in-store, the new feature helps them find what they’re looking for in less than 10 seconds.

The tool uses artificial intelligence to display results with the closest-match. Customers can add additional filters to help them find a product based on personal preferences, such as size, price and colour.

The initiative is part of M&S’s ‘digital-first’ strategy, which aims for a third of all Clothing & Home sales to be online by 2022.

The visual search technology has been developed with Syte and is available on M&S.com using mobile devices.

For the initial roll-out, Style Finder is available across womenswear and menswear and customers can easily navigate and filter through thousands of M&S products.

With 75% of all M&S’s online visits coming from mobile and tablet devices, the retailers says Style Finder offers a completely new and enhanced shopping experience for busy customers who seek wardrobe inspiration while on the go.

Jim Cruickshank, Head of Digital Product and UX at M&S, said: “We know our customers are busier than ever and are often most inspired when they’re out and about. Style Finder helps customers instantly find what they’re looking for, without the need to manually search and filter through our products.

“Enhancing the customer experience is central to our digital transformation journey. This is a brilliant example of how we’re becoming more relevant, more often, to our customers who are increasingly shopping online and in particular using mobile devices.”

M&S confirms 525 job cuts from London HQ…

As part of the new M&S chief executive, Steve Rowe’s plans to cut costs and ‘simplify the business’, the retailer has revealed that it will be cutting 525 jobs from its London headquarters and moving an additional 400 positions outside of the capital. 

Reports suggest that the retailer is currently consulting with head office staff in its merchandising, marketing and buying departments, and the number of job losses will be reached through a selection of redundancies and non-replacement of leavers. 

In addition to M&S’s changes to reducing premium pay for Sunday workers, as well as other reductions in its pay and pensions strategy for shop-floor staff, more than 90,000 people signed a petition calling for the plans to be scrapped; prompting M&S to announce on September 2 that employees would receive
extra compensation to ensure salaries will not fall below current rates in future.

In a statement, Rowe explained the decision: “M&S has to become a simpler and more effective
organisation if we are to deliver our plans to recover and grow our business. It is never easy to
propose changes that impact on our people, but I believe that the proposals outlined today are absolutely necessary and will help us build a different type of M&S – one that can take bolder, pacier decisions, be more profitable and ultimately better serve our customers.”

It is thought that 400 logistics and IT employees will move from London locations to the
retailer’s IT centre in Middlesex, and its distribution hub in Hemel Hempstead.