• June 22 2023

How Retailers can Leverage Visual Search for Success

Visual search technology has revolutionized the way users interact with online content. It has become a powerful tool for retailers. Over 70% of consumers are influenced by visuals on social media while making a purchase.

visual search for ecommerce

This blog post explores the concept of visual search, its benefits, and how brands have leveraged this technology to enhance their shopping experience to meet customer expectations.

By understanding the current landscape and exploring these approaches, you can uncover the potential of visual search and what lies ahead for this rapidly evolving technology.

What is Visual Search?

Visual search is an innovative technology allowing users to find information by taking a picture or uploading an image, unlike traditional text-based queries. It helps users find similar or related items effortlessly by leveraging deep learning algorithms to analyze and understand visual content.

Visual search is becoming increasingly popular, especially in the retail industry where the product’s look matters. For retail businesses, visual search is a tool that helps transform customer experiences and improve online conversions by providing more intuitive and visually engaging experiences, unlike online text-based searches. 

visual search

How Are Users Engaging With Visual Search?

Visual search has been making the discovery, identification, and purchase of products quicker for brands across the globe.

In one of our surveys, approximately 62% of millennials and Gen Z consumers expressed interest in visual search. Over 50% of people in this survey also agreed that they are open to interacting with shoppable content online and on social media platforms. This data indicates the widespread adoption and appeal of this technology.

According to data, users are more inclined towards using visual search over text-based search. This preference has been expressed by a majority of users who are either looking to shop for clothing or furniture. 


How Can Brands Leverage Visual Search Better Than Legacy Text?

visual search for ecommerce

Here are some ways in which brands can leverage this user interest by injecting visual search into their user journey:

1. Product Discovery: It allows users to discover new products effortlessly. The visual search engine analyzes the images uploaded by users and presents visually similar products. It helps users explore a wider range of options and discover items they may not have found through text-based searches.

2. Style Inspiration: Users upload images of outfits, fashion accessories, or home decor items they find visually appealing, and the visual search engine provides similar or complementary items. This feature empowers users to explore different styles, mix and match products, and stay up-to-date with the latest trends.

3. Visual Bookmarking: It also serves as a bookmarking tool for users. When they come across an image of a product they are interested in, they can save or bookmark it for future reference. This feature allows users to revisit and easily find the products they liked, eliminating the need to search for them again manually.

4. Comparison Shopping: It enables users to compare similar products visually. Instead of reading text-based descriptions and specifications, users can directly compare product images to identify similarities and differences, making informed purchasing decisions.

5. Augmented Reality Try-On: An exciting aspect of visual search is the integration of augmented reality (AR) technology. Users can virtually try on products such as clothing, eyewear, or cosmetics using their device’s camera. This helps enhance the overall shopping experience by reducing the uncertainty associated with online shopping and increasing user confidence.

Top Brands Using Visual Search— H&M, Flipkart, Myntra

H&M also provides visual search within its app, enabling users to explore the brand’s offerings using their own photos or screenshots. The app recognizes patterns, colors, and items, providing a list of matching or similar in-stock items.

Flipkart’s Image Search feature lets users snap a photo or use an existing image to discover fashion products with similar colors, patterns, or styles. It also aids in finding visually similar items to those already listed on Flipkart. 

“Discovering a fashion product online varies from user to user and is more complex as compared to other categories. A lot of fashion purchase decisions are influenced by similar products seen by users. The image search feature provides a way to find similar products on Flipkart as well as reduces the search/browsing time, making the overall product discovery and shopping experience simple.” ·   Punit Soni, Chief Product Officer at Flipkart.

Myntra, a prominent fashion brand platform and a key player in mobile commerce in India, is part of the Flipkart Group. They understand that many fashion purchases are inspired by seeing someone use a product and want that or something similar.

To address this, Myntra introduced image search, recognizing that simple text searches fall short. Now, whenever you come across a captivating fashion item, simply snap a photo and use Myntra’s image search option to find it.

Growth of Social Commerce

Visual search plays a significant role in the growth of social commerce, where users can shop directly within social media platforms. Platforms like Pinterest and Instagram have integrated visual search features, allowing users to discover and purchase products showcased in images or posts. 

Social media shopping reduces friction and makes the shopping process even faster by allowing it to happen on social media. 

Over 50% of US-based social media users state that they have found and purchased a product via a social platform. By 2025, Accenture estimates social commerce to more than double to a $1.2 trillion market worldwide. 

As the popularity and accessibility of social commerce have grown several popular brands have jumped on the bandwagon. New Balance, a leading brand globally leverages Facebook social commerce possibilities to make their products easily available to their audience. Their Facebook store helps the audience to get insights into the products, gather all the relevant product information, and proceed to buy the products through checkout CTAs.

Several other brands like Minimalist, a cosmetic and personal care brand, have also started allowing users to buy products directly through social media channels like Instagram. This opens up more avenues for brands to convert users. Brands with their eyes on long-term success must make the most out of social commerce as a channel.

What’s Next for Visual Search?

Brands that prioritize visual search optimization will outshine competitors in the ever-evolving global market. By embracing digital solutions like visual search, brands can differentiate themselves from the competition. 

Utilize ViSenze Image Search, trusted by 5 out of the top 10 global shopping apps, to unleash the innovative potential of your retail brand. Your customers will appreciate it, and you’ll reap the long-term rewards.