December 4, 2019 | By

AI IRL Podcast Episode 42: How AI Visuals are Revolutionizing Shopping

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A picture’s worth a thousand words.

So, why wouldn’t retailers want shoppers using an image search instead of a keyword search?

The thing is… they do. And one company called ViSenze is making it possible.

Think about it. Imagine you’re scrolling through Instagram and one of your favorite influencers is wearing a pair of jeans you decide you need for yourself.

What’s easier: Typing “dark blue skinny jeans men’s” into the search bar and hoping you happen upon a pair at least similar to the ones you want? Or taking a screenshot and uploading it into an AI image search, watching it pull up the exact pair you’re looking for?

On the latest episode of AI: IRL, I speak with Oliver Tan, co-founder and CEO of ViSenze. He fills us in on why retailers should be taking visual search seriously.

Here are just a few benefits of AI visual search for retailers.

1. Offer an integrated offline to online shopping experience

Say there’s a shopper in your store from out of town. She’s flown in from out-of-state and is killing some time before her doctor’s appointment.

While in your store, she sees the floor lamp that would go perfectly in her living room. She’d buy it right then and there if she didn’t have to lug it with her to the doctor’s appointment and then onto a plane.

That’s where AI image search comes in. The shopper is able to simply snap a photo of the lamp, go to your store’s website or app, upload the image into the search bar, and order it to be delivered to her home.

If the shopper hadn’t had that option, it’s very likely she wouldn’t have made a purchase.

AI image search eliminates the friction from offline to online.

“Our research shows more than 80% of consumers in the U.S. and the U.K. were using their smartphones in the store as part of the shopping experience.” – Oliver Tan

2. Personalize the shopping experience

ViSenze’s AI visual technology makes it possible to curate personalized suggestions for other items that may suit the shopper’s style.

Implementing AI image search technology allows You May Also Like module to become a personal stylist of sorts. The AI will analyze the shopper’s previous orders and suggest similar items as well as complementary pieces.

This feature not only allows retailers to sell more, but it helps the buyer find more items that delight them.

3. It’s easier for shoppers to search

Consider the example at the top of this post. You already have a buyer through the Consideration phase of their journey. Now, they’re trying to use a long tail keyword to find a product they saw in an image or out in the “real world.”

This process is clearly adding friction to the buyer’s journey.

If you integrate AI image search into your e-commerce platform, shoppers will appreciate the ease of finding the exact products they want.

“90% of shoppers are more likely to purchase products if they’re visually searchable on smartphones.” – Oliver Tan

4. Speed up online processes

Instead of shoppers scrolling through pages of products only to abandon your website, speed up the process with AI image search.

A recent study conducted by ViSenze found that after applying visual search to their e-commerce sites, customers’ conversion rates increased by 50%. This was, in part, due to the speed at which shoppers could complete transactions.

5. Stay ahead of competitors

Modern consumers want a personalized, frictionless, and exciting way to combine offline and online shopping experiences.

Whether it be a pair of sneakers a celebrity was wearing in an Instagram post or a backpack seen in the local coffee shop — we find inspiration everywhere. Unfortunately, the buyer’s journey from inspiration to transaction has historically been disconnected and frustrating.

If you were able to mend the break between visual inspiration and the transaction, why wouldn’t you?

“The divide between online and in-store doesn’t exist.” – Oliver Tan

You could be leading the way in customer experience as only 8% of retailers have built AI image search into their e-commerce platforms. Not to mention, 62% of millennials say the ability to use visual search trumps any other developing technology.

Start taking AI image search seriously

Humans are visual beings. The human brain can identify an image within 13 milliseconds. Why are retailers still forcing buyers to clumsily type in long keywords that might not even bring up the product they’re looking for?

AI visual search is a technology that is revolutionizing how we purchase products. The benefits are exponential for the shopper and the retailer.

It’s only a matter of time until image search becomes the new norm for e-commerce. Make sure you’re ready.

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