Sometimes people want to find a certain product and if they do not know its name or tag, that’s where visual search comes in handy.

When customers look for a product via an image instead of the keywords, it is called Visual Search. The process involves uploading an image to the visual search engines (Google Lens, Pinterest Lens etc.) which visually display results of either the same item or similar items available.

Visual search engines are web tools helping users to find details about the item they want to buy by visually scanning through pages of results.

A good example is Tommy Hilfiger – they introduced an app at a runway show in 2017 allowing visitors to snap photos and upload them to a visual search engine which then presented the same items for sale.


How does Visual Search Work? 

Visual Search exploits Artificial Intelligence technology to enable users search through real-world images rather than through text search.

It is a combination of Computer Vision and Machine Learning – the first helps machines to both see and interpret the objects on the image, while the latter provides information to understand what is presented in the image.

Visual Search enables users to find specific details about products, services or specific people on the web and other digital media.

It has become more and more important as users mostly search for information and entertainment on digital media nowadays and Visual Search can perform on various devices (computers, smartphones, and tablets).

Visual search will only grow in popularity because it facilitates the search process for users as digital media continues to evolve.

Check the tips below on how to optimize for visual search:


Benefits of Visual Search for Retailers

Visual Search is highly useful for the eCommerce stores since users can search for products they wish for quickly and find exact spots where to buy them online.

Visual Search can make shopping experience much easier for customers – such an approach can yield uptick in revenue and customer acquisition for store owners.

If you make it simpler and easier for users to find what they’re interested in, you will already bring them one step closer to making a purchase.

Take a look at some key benefits of visual search for retailers who decide to go down the road of visual search.


From Search to Conversion More Quickly


Visual search helps customers to find the product without having to think about the right keywords – the easier you make it for your customers, the less hassle will be in achieving sales.

When Forever 21 conducted a study, they recorded an almost 20-30% increase in conversion for product categories that used visual search.

Visual search is quick and efficient – everything modern shoppers appreciate today. It can easily scan a large number of result pages to find what you’re looking for, without you having to scroll endlessly through long lists of pages.


Integrating Online and Offline Shopping Experiences


No matter if you have brick-and-mortar store or a mobile app, you should strive to offer multichannel shopping experience for your customers as they increasingly want the shopping process to be as effortless as possible.

With visual search, you can integrate online and offline shopping experiences to offer  – your customers will easily find a wide variety of products on your website or an app plus it will create a connection between your online store and your customers.


Less Noise


The ‘noise’ of eCommerce is a common hurdle for in-store sellers.

When users perform a simple web search it leads to hundreds of pages of almost identical products.  Connecting your customers to a visual search ensures you provide the results on your available products.

This helps cut through the noise of online shopping making it easier for customers to reach their purchase decisions. It also helps them to see specifically what YOU have to offer.



Funding of Social Proof and Word of Mouth

Social proof and word of mouth are still considered as the most effective marketing strategies in the eCommerce industry but those are quite tough to track.

Word of mouth does not worth much if customers cannot figure out where that celebrity dress came from or which brand made their favorite influencer’s makeup.

Visual search will help you bridge that gap by providing a direct connection between these favored products and your brand.


Easier Measuring of Success


Visual search performance is something the brand owners can track and measure easily. When customers use visual search and proceed to purchase that same product or a similar one, the brand owner will find it easy to trace the sale back to visual search technology.

Store owners can check the insights if and when consumers clicked on visual search results, which styles they’ve explored and when they made their purchase. This data enables them to pinpoint the particular products that frequently convert on visual search making it easy to increase the efforts that drive sales.

If you, as a shop owner, monitor traffic that comes from visual search in Google Analytics, you can check all the relevant details like how many customers clicked to product pages and the conversions – both rates and amount. The result is – you will know exactly how many sales are driven by visual search technology.


Wider Reach


New generations now discover brands through social apps and most of them are looking to purchase directly from the platforms – there has never been a better time to get your brand discovered outside of traditional search fields.

Placing ads and providing visual search will give you an opportunity to reach a wider audience and keep the pace with the newer generation demands.

Trust is critical in helping customers move towards a potential purchasing decision. Retail vertical strategy lead at Pinterest Amy Vener said that visual discovery allows shoppers to generate a more emotional connection, which turns into less price sensitivity.

This way, you can open your gates to new generations and new customers and witness your growing audience of customers.


Increased Revenue


Although visual search is a significant investment, the sites can look forward to the opportunity of vastly increased revenues.

According to Gartner, early adopters of both visual and voice search will find their profit increased by as much as 30% by 2022.



The next level for your business can definitely be visual search – if you include it into your strategy, you will enable your clients to find what they want quickly and easily.

By using effective strategies like keyword density and alternate text (ALT tags), you can provide your users with everything they need in order to find what they’re looking for, without having to spend much time scrolling through long lists of pages.

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