4 Ways to Make Visual Search Work for Your Customers and Your Company

4 Ways to Make Visual Search Work for Your Customers and Your Company

Rapid improvements in visual-search technology allow consumers to upload a photo or take a picture of a product, then use that image as the basis for a search. I take a picture, search for the shoes entirely on the basis of the image (no words) and get quick results that include actionable information about the product. Here are four ways to make sure you end up on the right side of history with this game-changing technology. Recognize the importance of visual search as a winning strategy to wring new revenues from existing content. Monetizing any current visual content can provide a stream of revenue. And that will become increasingly important as publishers move away from traditional advertising-driven revenue models. Make sure you offer high-quality content. Your visual content is no different than the rest of your site's content in one crucial way: It must be high-quality. A quick test: Is this visual content likely to move a user to undertake a visual search? With every move forward, the secret will be using visual search in a way that provides solid, useful differentiation.

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4 Ways to Make Visual Search Work for Your Customers and Your Company

It’s hard to recognize a massive shift in the flow of history when your day-to-day thoughts are dominated by the headaches of freeway traffic.

But here’s something to think about the next time you’re waiting forever to get onto that exit ramp: We’re moving quickly into the world of visual search — I’ll explain in a moment — and entrepreneurs need to position their brands for this new realm of marketing.

Rapid improvements in visual-search technology allow consumers to upload a photo or take a picture of a product, then use that image as the basis for a search. Let’s imagine I love the shoes someone else is wearing at a party. I take a picture, search for the shoes entirely on the basis of the image (no words) and get quick results that include actionable information about the product.

Visual search’s biggest advantage is its independence from textual language. It uses images to transcend the semantic disparity between keywords used by retailers and those used by consumers. Instead of spending hours searching for a “floral dress” or a “flower dress,” a consumer can use an image of a dress she likes and instantly find where to purchase it — or others that are very similar.

Examples of visual search’s applications are cropping up all over:

  • AsiaOne, a news platform operated by Singapore Press Holdings Ltd., provides visual search to help readers find and buy clothes they see on the site.
  • London-based fashion retailer ASOS added visual search its site late this summer.
  • Traditional retailers such as Target and Neiman Marcus continue to develop initiatives as the power of artificial intelligence leads to strong improvements in the technology.

But for all the brilliant success stories that…

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