We’ve all had times when it’s difficult to find the right words. When it comes to describing your dream dress or the perfect toaster for your kitchen, it can get a whole lot harder. Visual search is here to change that.
Using advanced recognition technology, visual search is making it easier for consumers to find exactly what they want. And ecommerce businesses are quickly hopping on the trend. Want to avoid falling behind the competition? Stay completely up-to-date with our handy guide to visual search and how you can use it to boost your ecommerce site…
What is visual search?
First things first, what actually is visual search? Technically speaking, visual search works by comparing the individual pixels in an image to those previously uploaded onto the internet to match search results with the desired product.
So, rather than searching for a certain keyword, like ‘copper kettle’, which would generate millions of results, you can upload an image from a magazine or website to generate much more specific results.
Now, the concept of visual search isn’t really new. It’s been around for the past decade or so, with Google launching Google Goggles back in 2010. However, it has only made its way to the forefront of the ecommerce industry recently, with advances in technology making it much easier to use this handy feature, with more accurate results.
Who is using Visual Search?
As the trend starts to spread across the industry, a number of ecommerce sites are making the most of this feature to boost their business. Here’s how the biggest players in the game are using visual search…
As the leading search engine, it makes sense that Google is leading the way with visual search. Using Google Lens, shoppers can upload a photo and Google will generate the most relevant search results. Google Lens can find similar or exact items, generate information about landmarks or nearby places and even identify plants or animals.
Bing Visual Search
Similar to Google Lens, Bing Visual Search is useful for uploading specific images and generating a number of relevant results for the user. It can carry out the same functions as Google Lens. The only downfall is that Bing’s search engine is smaller than Google’s, so it may generate less results. That said, for those who already prefer Bing to Google, it is more than sufficient.
Popular social media platform, Pinterest, relies heavily on visual features. From mood boards to inspirational images, the app is based around inspiring users, whether it’s home furnishings or outfit styles. To make life easier for users, Pinterest Lens can be used to search for visuals across the site. While their visual search isn’t nearly as feature-rich as Bing or Google’s tools, it adds another function to the Pinterest app, enticing users and making it much easier to find similar products.
Snapchat Camera Search
With around 246 million daily users, Snapchat is one of the biggest social media platforms in the world. It’s gained huge traction in the ecommerce world too. From adding shoppables to developing their own in-built visual search functionality, Snapchat is making it much easier for users to access their favourite brands
Thanks to a partnership with Amazon, Snapchat’s camera search is highly functional. Users can simply point the camera at an object or barcode, press and hold the image and the feature will generate a number of Amazon items that directly link to the item.
How can it benefit your eCommerce site?
Visual search sounds like a cool and useful feature to have. But how exactly is it going to help your ecommerce business?
By enabling visual search on your ecommerce site, you can increase how many shoppers will see your items. Whenever anyone visually searches for an item that you have available on your site, your image will appear in the search results, automatically increasing your chances of getting a sale.
If a shopper is searching for something closely linked to your item, the possibility of them buying the product is much higher.
Boost social sales
Using social media to market your ecommerce site and generate sales is a common tactic that can transform your business. Visual search could make this even more effective. If you list your products on Pinterest and a user searches for a single image, for instance, they can discover your shop with ease.
Your ecommerce store would get more impressions and clicks, which in turn gives you a greater opportunity to drive sales from the platform.
Make cross-selling easier
Visual search can drastically improve how you cross-sell your products. If a user is searching for a grey jumper, for instance, and the results generated show a grey jumper paired with a pair of blue jeans, they may be more tempted to buy the entire look.
That’s also helpful if specific products are out of stock. The tool can show a number of similar or related items that could lead to a sale.
Improve user experience
Some shoppers – known in the industry as ‘spearfishers’ – tend to only search online for very specific items, as opposed to browsing ecommerce sites. By using visual search, they are able to reduce the amount of time spent looking for an item. If your site is one of the top generated results, they are likely to choose your item and make a purchase.
It can also help to decrease checkout abandonment as shoppers are looking specifically for an item. They’ll typically purchase it once they find the item that matches their vision.