A Tee, T-shirt or Top? - Finding Your Style With Visual Search Navigation

By Avital Rabani, VP of Marketing

Searching online should be easy, and in most cases, it is. You type in what you want to know, the search engine fetches it, and the answer appears right in front of your eyes. It’s great for finding “restaurants in my area” or “1980s teen heartthrob list” or “black t-shirt with a long tail.” 

Or is it “slate tee shirt with long hem”?

Or maybe “ebony cotton top with tall waist”?

Unfortunately, text search is limited for visual domains like fashion. But, luckily, visual search navigation is here to help online shoppers find exactly what they’re searching for. 

Why Language is an Issue

Computers don’t comprehend lingual context. They respond to cues and categorize it well enough to provide answers, but they don’t fundamentally understand what you’re trying to say the way a salesperson at your favorite store can. Because they’re so heavily dependent on “if this, then this” styles of language comprehension, missing a critical term can throw off your entire search. And there are several reasons you may not have the right term.

Unfamiliarity With Fashion Jargon

Specialized vocabulary isn’t well known and can take a while to master. With fashion, if you aren’t in the fashion world, you may not know (or want to know) the technical terms for the exact garment you’re searching for. “Dress” can look like a lot of different things, and the one you want could have a specific name you don’t know. 

You Say T-Shirt, I Say Tee

Tshirt, T-shirt, tee-shirt, top, dress top, cotton top—what are you supposed to call it again? Red, maroon, burgundy, rose, wine, oxblood - what’s the right shade? If a customer says “red shoes” but wants something more like maroon instead of tomato red, will the results reflect that preference accurately? Chances are, hundreds of irrelevant but technically correct results will lead them to “shopstration”, or maybe even prompt them to leave your site. 
How Visual Search Navigation Solves Language Issues

Language Barriers

With international commerce, language can be a huge issue. Brands are building sites across country lines and their online store needs to be localized. However, even within countries, language differences can cause stumbling blocks. Less familiar terms may fall through the cracks. For instance, users in a foreign country may know the word “tee-shirt” but not know that t-shirt is just another spelling variant for the same thing. Without these buyers having a way of finding what they're searching for could lead to a considerable loss for online retailers.
Overcome Language barriers with Visual Search navigation

How Visual Search Navigation Solves Language Issues

By shifting textual search to a visual tool, you’re able to overcome these language shortcomings. With computer vision, shoppers can search the way they do in the store. Visual cues allow them to surpass language knowledge without having to use the right terms. 

Visual search navigation solves three main issues with using search in the fashion arena.

  1. E-commerce catalogs aren’t always tagged well. With Visual Search Navigation, your catalog is tagged using sophisticated algorithms that assign multiple tags to each product attribute. This deep tagging allows users to search your inventory more efficiently for exactly what they’re looking for.
  2. The resulting search system is intuitive. Users can identify multiple characteristics of their desired garment, narrowing choices down step by step. When they finish, they’re left with options that match their desires and unique style DNA. These visual cues bypass language barriers by allowing customers to choose based on what they see, instead of depending on them to use the right terms to search their catalog. 

Visual Search Navigation: An International Language

Shopstration” is a huge issue. Ignoring how frustrating it is for your customer to find a garment on your site may cause them to shop somewhere else. Online fashion retailers that have implemented Visual Search Navigation technology to resolve the issues of text-based language jargon have shown leaps in conversions and overall cart value.

Retailers like Forever 21 have implemented visual search navigation have seen results so successful that the system has become an integral part of how their customers shop. With Style Finder - a system that uses Donde Search’s deep tagging system with visual search navigation - users are prompted through a series of visual-based cues that they can toggle until they find exactly what they want. No irrelevant results. No mess.

Fashion e-commerce is moving towards visual search navigation, and as a result, more and more online stores have overcome language shortcomings. Shopping online should prioritize visual cues, and with this new generation of computer vision, we may soon find pages of irrelevant results a thing of the past.

Want to learn more about Donde’s AI-powered Visual Search Navigation? Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.