blog / How Visual Search Amplifies the eCommerce experience

Have you ever been in a situation where you are in love with a bag worn by a celebrity but can’t find any more information to search for it online? Or the earring on your boss looks perfect for an upcoming occasion but you feel hesitant to ask her where she got it from? Visual search can help you in this regard by finding products you can’t quite describe. It will take cues from a photo you upload and then bring you many options looking similar to that photo.

What is Visual Search Technology?

Visual search simply means looking for an object online with the help of an image representing it. In the eCommerce universe, it is a feature which provides users the freedom to find out a product using a photo. This photo could be of the exact item he or she is looking for, or something very similar. The science behind this lies within comparing pixels in the given image and identifying photos similar to it.

How It Amplifies The eCommerce Experience?

1. Social Media Connection
Social media is expanding day by day and soon all young individuals will be interested in buying their needs right from the Facebook or Instagram pages. A report from Accenture says 69% of youth prefer purchasing directly via social media platforms. Keeping this in mind, you can infuse visual search into your eCommerce structure plans to make it easier for these Generation Z customers to make purchases on your platform. Post relevant photos of the products along with necessary links to drive the social media traffic to your dedicated website.

2. Nailing Spearfishers
“Spearfisher” is the term used for the customers who come to your eCommerce platform in search of a specific product. They are not here to find any other related product but always have eyes on selecting the best choice for their desired item. They expect to land on a choice which has high quality at the most reasonable price. Through visual search, they can view all variations available for that particular product within a much shorter time span than going through each item on its own. It allows them to perform a quick virtual side-by-side comparison of all options and thus speeds up the whole process. So the next time they need another specific item, they will flock to your website to have more productive results.

3. Increased Cross-selling
Cross-selling refers to pursuing a customer to buy more products depending on the main product they want to purchase. This is what an eCommerce site aims at doing when they show you a plethora of items related to the one item you planned on buying. Customers are always looking for the best options and packages while browsing through such sites. So if you can give them every element of a look instead of only the dress, they will strongly consider investing in the whole look.

This is where visual search comes in. While selling the dress, you can use the photo of a woman wearing the perfect dress and shoes to wear with that bag creating a new demand in the customer to buy those too along with the bag for a complete look. At the end of the day, more sales will be guaranteed for you and the customers will leave feeling content.

4. Customer Satisfaction
The art of satisfying a customer relies on figuring out what he or she is looking for in particular.

The best part about eCommerce sites is that the algorithm does that job for you! Through the visual search chatbots, customers can make use of the multiple filters and sub-categories to find their desired item. These bots do the job of the real-life salesmen by showcasing the relevant product images and the potential buyers can avail this service from the comfort of their home. The users can post a photo of the product they are searching for and several options matching the picture will come up as suggestions. Such personalized approach and seamless user experience that blurs lines between offline and offline shopping encourage customers to keep coming back for more.

5. From Unavailability to Opportunity
Even when a product is out of stock, you can persuade the customer to look at a bunch of similar products with visual search. Without such an option, he or she would most likely close the tab or leave your website to find it elsewhere. Visual search keeps them occupied by offering them multiple alternatives. So you can turn all unavailable products into opportunities for other products.

Some Noteworthy Examples Include:


The biggest eCommerce giant in the world - Amazon - also makes good use of visual search opportunities which was introduced in their iOS app first in 2014. It allows the smartphone camera of users to capture what item they are looking for. While they don’t work flawlessly yet for all kinds of items, reviews suggest they have been very useful in case of recognizing records and DVD images.

eBay has its own image search feature which combines the perks of AI and machine learning to find the most relevant results. Customers can utilize this feature from their mobile devices and thus can keep browsing through the images to find their desired product even when they are having a busy day.

One of the most popular stores in the USA - Target has a special form of visual search embedded in its mobile app. It provides customers the opportunity to scan barcodes of any product inside the store to get more information about the item. Thus, they don’t need to look for a helping hand around and can have a much more convenient purchasing experience.

Neiman Marcus
American retailer Neiman Marcus has integrated a visual search in their app similar to the Amazon’s. It allows users to upload a photo of the product they want to buy and then the app
suggests several options from the search results. The uploaded photo doesn’t have to be a proper stock-photo, it can also be the outfit of a passer-by or that of a celebrity. Thus it makes for a very convenient and handy feature for all the customers. While visual search may never quite replace the need for textual search, it offers much more convenience to