We live in a visual-centric society. Words are commonly replaced with emojis, teenagers keep up with the news through Snapchat Discover channels, and our Facebook feeds are now cluttered with videos and Instagram embeds instead of lengthy status updates. It makes sense, then, that our online research habits are moving the same way. Visual search technology is on the rise, and it’s a particularly promising prospect for the image-focused fashion retail sector.
Tech firms are beginning to target fashion brands with their intelligent software, with one example being Syte, which boasts market-leading visual search technology. One of Syte’s USPs is that it doesn’t require any manual work or tagging behind-the-scenes in order to present appropriate style matches to consumers. Despite only being founded in 2015, Syte’s visual intelligence is so accurate that it is able to automatically transform images into shoppable content. It’s not only retailers that can benefit from such technology, either – publishers and influencers could potentially monetize their content by giving it visual search capabilities.
ASOS’ chief executive, Nick Beighton, has recently outlined the company’s intentions to focus on visual search tech. Its first point of call will be the website’s pages for products that are out of stock; implementing visual search could see the standard ‘out of stock’ message being replaced by alternative, visually similar options that customers might be interested in. Benson has also discussed ASOS’ plans to roll out a direct visual search option within a few months. ASOS isn’t the first big name to venture into visual searches, though; companies like John Lewis have already dipped their toes into the realm, and Pinterest launched its own visual search feature, which it plans to expand the capabilities of, earlier this year.
As a spokesperson for Syte notes, visual searching works because it ‘takes the natural instinct of seeing something that inspires us, and gives the consumer the choice to engage. With [this] technology, you’ll never need to ask the question, “where did she get that from?”’
Standard text-based fashion searches require consumers to enter specific search terms in order to find the right garment, while visual searching strips away this requirement; algorithms are able to do the legwork, thus speeding up the shopping process. It's easy to see the appeal of such technology, particularly within the lucrative millennial market, which has grown up using camera phones and expects instant gratification when shopping online. Why waste precious hours searching for the perfect pair of jeans, after all, when AI can do it for you?
Image Source: Syte