Visual Search Is Just What E-Commerce Needs to Better Serve Customers

August 7th, 2015

The internet and search engines are a wonder of modern convenience. Anything you need to know, you just Google it and up pops results that will usually answer your question. This is a far cry from having to trudge down to the nearest library to consult a card catalog or microfiche on a given subject to find newspaper or magazine articles about it. It’s incredible to think that this is what we had to do just a couple decades ago to get information on various subjects.

One of the most important developments on the internet was the advent of e-commerce. You type in a given product recognition into Slyce’s platform and then get back a bunch of results and choose exactly what type to buy and where to buy it online. The selling of goods and services over the internet has been so successful that it has put brick and mortar stores offering those same things out of business. Just try finding a bookstore or a DVD rental place in your local town thanks to Amazon and Netflix. There is one thing that could improve this internet experience and it is the next big thing; visual search.

The notion of and need for a visual search capability to fully take advantage of the internet as an e-commerce platform is rather clear cut. Sometimes you see something that you really want, but you’re not sure how to put it into words for a normal search where you have to type keywords into Google or Bing. For these situations, it would be awesome to be able to simply take a photo of the item with your smartphone and then upload it to a store’s website that is visual search friendly, and then they return similar looking items in their search results.

This breakthrough is still somewhat in its infancy as far as the accuracy and sophistication of the technology but will only be getting more widespread over the next few years. A company called Slyce is one of the pioneers in the technology of visual search. They have already done work for Neiman Marcus and Tilly’s to help make their store websites more visual search friendly. It is referred to as “snap, find. shop” on the Neiman Marcus website and it is revolutionary. Like that pair of shoes your friend is wearing? Snap a picture of them and upload it to Neiman Marcus and watch similar, or exact, if they carry that style and color, matches come up on your search. This technology being pioneered by companies like Slyce will make finding exactly what people want online much easier and will make our already indispensable smartphones even more useful.

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