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Get the look instantly: how using visual search and improving ux can boost sales

Thursday 16th November


Have you ever visited the Asos app, browsed for more than 1 hour, added multiple things in your shopping bag (over £500… oops) and then left exhausted because although you found some beautiful things, you didn’t find the exact same look that the x blogger was pulling off at an Instagram post yesterday?

Well, I know I have! But, luckily Asos has found a way to keep both myself and their wider audience more engaged with the launch of its new visual search feature. So now I can finally go to the app and buy the influencer look instantly – the shopping dream for fashionistas every where.

Asos’s visual search tool allows you to upload a picture of a product, at any time you get this fashion inspiration, and lets the algorithm do the search work for you. Asos introduced this technology based on the insight that users who were unsure of what they were looking for were leaving the app without purchasing due to the enormous size of their product offering, as well as the small mobile screen that didn’t help with discovering all the possible options.

So far, according to Richard Jones, director of product management for the Asos site, visual search results suggest that users find what they are looking for faster and easier and so sales are increasing. In addition, this type of search tool promises to evolve to serve results of other products users have searched for and their preferences based on their in-app purchase behaviour. For example if you have visually searched for a particular jumper then Asos will also serve you shoes to complete the ‘Chiara Ferragni’ look.

And it is not only Asos that is experimenting with visual search; Tommy Hilfiger is another fashion brand getting involved in this space. Tommy Hilfiger launched visual search at a fashion show back in February that enabled participants to ‘See and Buy Now’. By downloading an app, consumers could take a snap from the runway, and then through visual search enabling technology, go on the site to buy the look instantly. This has also resulted in Tommy Hilfiger reporting growing sales. Ted Mann, CEO of Slyce, the visual recognition software company that Tommy Hilfiger used, said that their fashion show drove an increased number of sales and as a result are now investing more in this strategy by building an app that can be used all year around.

Although visual search technology has been around since the early 2000s, it was due to the rise of mobile transactions that brands are now looking into utilising this technology. It is especially because of the increase in mobile usage from millennials: According to a 2016 eMarketer study, Millennials spend an average of four hours and five minutes on their phones each day, while the average is two hours and 51 minutes among adults over age 18. So brands with Millennials as their main target audience will miss out on sales if they don’t seek to enhance the customer experience on the device that they spend their time the most.


Article Written by

Emmanouela Sideri

Digital Display Account Manager, Total Media

Emmanouela has been working in digital media for the last four years and she continues to be inspired by all the new tech developments that influence consumer's lives.

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