The power of Visual Search
Updated: Jun 12, 2020
Retail continues to undergo changes and play catch up to the massive consumer behaviour shift that is happening. Simultaneously, new technologies and competition are coming up left and right, offering a mix of challenges and opportunities for retailers. Visual search is one of the most powerful technologies that can be applied in so many ways, depending on consumer needs and business goals. This quick guide aims to help retailers, brands, and marketplaces visualise and decide if visual search is right for them. Through a series of visual search implementations, future visual AI adopters are going to see how the technology works to benefit both consumers and retailers in the short and long run.
Whether retailers choose to invest in retail technology or not, there is no denying that it is a crucial part of staying competitive in today’s landscape.
The latest Gartner forecast revealed that retail technology spending worldwide will grow to almost $203.6 billion in 2019, with similar growth rates (3.6%) for the next two years. In the end though, any decision made on a new digital solution boils down to the most important factor—what is in it for the consumers?
In fact, Econsultancy in partnership with Adobe, found that 26% of retail leaders ranked “customer experience – making the experience on our properties easy/fun/valuable” first as a means of differentiation.
So, what are consumers like today and what kind of customer experience do they expect from retailers?
With a breadth of content bombarding consumers every second, consumers’ attention spans are shrinking- down to about eight seconds according to Microsoft. Eight seconds according to Microsoft.3 As a result, companies rely heavily on visual cues. Social Media Examiner4 found that visual is the most used type of content by companies. Consumers (59%) also think that visual information is more important than textual information, as revealed by The Intent Lab.
Mobile phones, tablets, and even desktop are the primary reasons why consumers consume hundreds of pieces of content on a daily basis. Not only that, these devices also caused the meteoric rise of online shopping. Forrester6 said that 50% of US retail sales are now digitally impacted and is poised to grow to 53% by 2023. From product search, price comparison, all the way to purchase and delivery, consumers are enjoying the convenience digital commerce provides.
Following millennials, the next cohort of consumers—the Gen Z—further accelerates the current digital shopping behaviour. In fact, 24% prefer to shop online and 13% via mobile, according to Accenture.
Almost half (44%) cited social media as a popular source of product inspiration—particularly visual search networks such as YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat. Moreover, 37% have increased social media usage for purchase decision-making last year.