If you’re anything like me, you don’t have $2,000 to drop on a new outfit. However, there are many well-made duplicates at a fraction of the price…it’s just a matter of finding them. In the past, I’d see someone on my Instagram feed wearing a beautiful dress and wonder where they purchased it. In most cases, if the person isn’t a fashion or affiliate blogger, the brand can be tough to identify. That is, until now.
With most online shopping beginning with search, it’s no wonder why retailers like Asos, Express, Urban Outfitters and Neiman Marcus have implemented visual image search in-app.
Visual search removes roadblocks and decreases friction in the shopping experience, taking shoppers directly from inspiration to satisfaction. Because taking a photo of a product is the #1 most popular in-store mobile shopping activity, more and more retailers are implementing visual search as a way to engage customers and drive sales.
Here are a few examples of retailers that have implemented the technology well.
Screenshop’s app leverages artificial intelligence to identify shoppable items in a user’s screenshots. Once fashion-related photos are detected, the app will generate an assortment of clothing, footwear or accessory options. In addition to finding the same outfit, their custom catalogue will also offer up similar styles by many different brands at a wide range of price points.
Asos’ “Style Match” visual search tool is available for both iOS and Android. The reverse image search feature lets customers take or upload a photo to the app to find visually comparable clothing styles that are available to shop. Reverse image search is a search engine technology that takes an image file as input query and returns results related to that image. The tool works really well – so much so that it helped me find an affordable alternative to a gorgeous white lace dress that I wanted, but couldn’t justify spending the $500. Additionally, Asos reported that in 2017, 70% of their UK orders came from mobile devices. With the implementation of their visual search feature, they expect sales to grow by 30 to 35%.
Urban Outfitters and Express
Both Urban Outfitters and Express are utilizing Slyce’s visual search technology in-app. Slyce enables customers to find products inspired by the objects they see in the real world by converting a photograph into hyper-specific product descriptions, which are utilized to search a retailer’s product API or product database. Urban Outfitters’ “Scan + Shop” feature and Express’ “Trend Snap” are available in their apps’ search bar. After testing both, Express’ Trend Snap provided me with far more accurate results than the former. Either way, it’s nice to know that I can find several great alternatives to the $128 AGOLDE cutoff shorts I’ve been eyeing.
Also powered by Slyce, Neiman Marcus’ “Snap. Find. Shop.” search technology allows its customers to snap or upload a picture of a coveted item in-app while their smart image recognition finds similar shoes, clothing or handbags.
The Business Impact
- Ted Mann, CEO of Slyce, shared that customers who integrate visual recognition in app have witnessed a 20 to 40% increase in volume of visual searches month over month.
- Nordstrom Rack has seen a 75% increase in conversions among customers who encountered visual search in the sales process.
- Home Depot has witnessed 3X its typical app retention when consumers engage with visual search.
- According to Gartner, by 2021, early adopter brands that redesign their digital channels to support visual and voice search will increase digital commerce revenue by 30%.
- Neiman Marcus confirmed that they’ve seen 95% accuracy for 3D product image recognition.
- With visual search, average order size increases by an average of 20%.
Visual search not only drives tangible business results; it increases customer loyalty by alleviating a notorious pain point in the discovery experience. We’ll see more customer-focused retailers begin to delight their consumers with visual search, essentially allowing them to shop their inspiration.