Computer Vision And AI in Retail – Revolution Or Gimmick?

By Avital Rabani, VP of Marketing

The idea that you can snap—take a picture of your favorite blouse or suit—and then shop for visually similar items is very appealing. It’s what makes visual search so “cool and sexy.” 

However, the reality is that few consumers actually use it. In fact, according to an August 2019 eMarketer ecommerce survey conducted by Bizrate Insights, only 3% of online shoppers in the United States regularly use basic visual search. 

In this article, we will dive deep into the limitation of basic visual search and introduce a new AI-powered product discovery solution, Visual Search Navigation.

Why The “Snap and Shop” Use-Case Has A Low Adoption Rate

Even though we “live and breath” with our mobile camera, it can be a true struggle to take a quality picture of exactly what you want. If you just saw the shirt you want for a split second on the street, getting a snapshot is difficult if not impossible, not to mention that it is awkward to ask a stranger to take a picture of their shirt... And even if you get a picture, bad lighting, poor angles, and even wrinkles can lead to photos that fall short of visual search quality standards.

And having a picture that is good enough is only the beginning. Once you have it, you most likely won’t know which brand made or sells it—so where are you going to look for it? 

In addition, while visual search works for basic visual attributes, more detailed and sophisticated attributes such as necklines and special sleeve type will not be identified. So, you could end up with a lot of items that don’t match what you like and no way to refine your search—it’s a “one-shot deal”, not a discovery journey. 

This is where Visual Search Navigation comes into play.

Visual Search Navigation Based On Deep Tagging

According to Gartner Analyst Mike McGuire, AI is “an important technology that supports visual search platforms.” It’s key to enhancing the customer experience because it allows consumers to shop online the same way they shop in retail stores. By imitating the way shoppers “see” items (via specific attributes), Visual Search Navigation provides better returns and fewer irrelevant results.

Visual Search Navigation uses AI and computer vision technology to remove shopstration (shopper frustration). Compared to basic visual search, Visual Search Navigation relies on deep tagging and a rich set of visual attributes.

You can go beyond color and skirt length to go in-depth into exactly the type of “look” you want. And you can continually refine your search based on any selection of detailed style attributes until the exact items you want shows up in the search results - its a discovery journey, not a one time search.

Unlike basic visual search, computer vision-based AI Visual Search Discovery is an innovative solution that can take online retail to the next level. It helps online shoppers find what they want with instant results narrowed down attribute by attribute. With AI in retail shopping, you put your shoppers at ease with zero of the discomfort that basic visual search includes.

See What You Search For With AI Visual Search Navigation

Visual Search Navigation is the wave of the future of online product discovery, but don’t just take our word for it. Check out how millennial fashion retailer REVOLVE is taking advantage of true visual discovery through computer vision and AI.

REVOLVE Increases Conversions by 16%

When trend-conscious fashion retailer REVOLVE added computer vision and AI-based Visual Search Navigation to its online store, the results were instantaneous. By integrating discovery based on visual cues rather than words, they were able to boost conversions by 16 percent. 

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“As the leading fashion retailer for millennials, visual discovery is critical to providing an authentic online shopping experience,” Michael Mente, REVOLVE co-founder and CEO, told Sourcing Journal. “We are taking the guesswork out of shopping for our customers.”

AI Visual Search Navigation Revolutionizes Product Discovery

Visual Search Navigation that uses computer vision and AI is a welcome advancement for the online retail space. Not only does the deep tagged online catalog greatly improves the shopping experience, but it also helps retailers better connect with their customers by providing intelligence and insights at the product attribute level, so you can decipher your shopper’s style DNA. Done correctly, Visual Search Navigation allows you to give your customers what they want faster and smarter. 

Sign up for a demo to learn more about Donde’s Visual Search Navigation solution powered by AI and computer vision.