Retail Week can reveal that the firm is trialling the FindSimilar app, which allows users to take pictures of fashion items in stores, or upload images already saved on their phones.

The app, which has been developed alongside Cortexica, will then provide shoppers with a list of similar products, based on either colour or pattern, which can be purchased at other stores in the same mall.

Once the user has selected the product they would prefer to purchase, the app then displays a map, showing customers the best route to the store.

Around 350 consumers have tested the app at Hammerson’s Brent Cross Shopping Centre in North London, with a clutch of retailers including John Lewis and Reiss taking part in the trial.

Womenswear first

The app currently focuses on womenswear, but Hammerson said the technology has the capacity to be expanded to include menswear and product ranges from dozens more retailers.

Hammerson ultimately aims to invest “a few hundred thousand pounds” to roll out the app across its UK portfolio, which includes the Bullring and Grand Central in Birmingham, Bristol’s Cabot Circus, Victoria Gate in Leeds and The Oracle in Reading.

Hammerson chief executive David Atkins told Retail Week: “There’s no doubt that, for certain people, there is quite a lot of heartache in physical shopping. It doesn’t quite have the convenience angle of online.

“So what we’ve been doing amongst a number of measures is looking at ways in which we can improve that shopper journey and the overall experience for the retailers.

“In this case, it’s about providing people with a search engine so we can show them goods that look exactly the same as they are looking for, or something similar, and show them what’s available in Brent Cross and even take them to the store where it’s available.”