Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) has introduced a new search tool just in time for the holiday rush. If you're looking to give your special someone a nice pair of shoes, you're in luck: If you know what the perfect pair looks like, Amazon will help you find 'em.

So perhaps holiday shoppers aren't exactly the target demographic Amazon had in mind here. You have to want to buy shoes and have some sense of what the shoes you're hunting for might look like. Unless instructed to a T by our significant others, a lot of us men wouldn't have any clue what to do with this tool, and our dames might go without stylish foot-wraps despite Amazon's best efforts.

That doesn't mean it's a pointless service, though. The retailer is coming at the shopping experience from a whole new angle here, much as Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) is finding new ways to appeal to the fashion-shopping crowd nowadays. More product-finding tools can hardly hurt, only help. Besides, it's not just for women's shoes -- gift-shopping goes both ways, after all.

I do hope this is just an experiment on Amazon's part. While you can't convince me to get excited about the general shape of a shoe, Amazon also sells athletic equipment, computer components, car parts, and home entertainment electronics, at least some of which could be usefully defined by their visual appearance.

Adding that option is an attempt by Amazon to copy the visceral shopping experience you'd get from walking into a Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) or Target (NYSE: TGT) store to just look around. Is it good enough to completely erase the inherent advantages of bricks-and-mortar retailing? Probably not, but it's a start. Let's see this effort expanding into other product categories.

Would you shop at Amazon more often if everything was categorized by shape and size? More importantly do you think other formerly Luddite shoppers would? Discuss in the comments box below.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. He knows very well that physical stores have their disadvantages, too, thank you very much. Best Buy and Google are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Amazon.com and Best Buy are Motley Fool Stock Advisor choices. Motley Fool Options has recommended buying calls on Best Buy. The Fool owns shares of Best Buy and Google. 

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