Is visual search the future of ecommerce



By Vaibhav Lall

As online marketplaces prevailed over offline marketplaces, retail businesses have changed the way their consumers interact with their products. These online marketplaces are also undergoing some rather practical changes in their research and user experience foundations.

Only a few decades ago, retailers relied primarily on word of mouth and similar traditional advertising methods. With the advent of the Internet and the growth of its users, advertising and retail activities have undergone a radical change in their basic practices.

In today’s digital world, driving conversions relies on meticulously planned campaigns, using the right marketing tools and the ability to understand data as it arrives. Not using the latest marketing tools is totally debilitating for businesses. In a market where competition is ripe and consumers demand convenience, using the latest tools that technology has to offer is the way to go.

Voice search and visual search are two of the most significant changes adopted by e-commerce platforms around the world. With people wanting to spend as little time as possible shopping and an imploding appetite for convenience, these changes fit precisely into the mindset of today’s age of consumers. Companies that realize this and take the necessary action would see their bottom line increase.

The apparent potential of visual search

Visual search is essentially a much faster and more efficient method of searching online. Unlike text, it uses images to return multiple results that match that particular search. By using image recognition techniques, search engines can provide you with incredibly relevant results.

For example, imagine that you are looking for something specific. A quick Google search can get you closer to your target, but it might take a while to land on the exact product you were looking for, if you don’t do it at all.

Visual search basically allows you to take an image and use sophisticated software. A search engine can find the exact item you were looking for. Since the technology is relatively new and has not been over-tested, the accuracy of a visual search varies. However, it is steadily improving as larger companies that can harvest large chunks of data continuously refine their search engines. The additional use of machine learning has also brought the technology to a more refined state.

Most searches today start as text, but visual information does your research. The basic idea of ​​visual search and its implementation can save consumers time and effort. Visual search trumps generic text search when it comes to accuracy.

Tools designed to facilitate visual search already exist. software like Pinterest Lens and Google Lens are readily available and use visual search to display incredibly accurate and relevant results.

Visual search has even found a stepping stone to the truly limitless potential within the ecommerce ecosystem. Since many consumers are actively using e-commerce platforms to shop for everything from fashion to food, better, more innovative and more efficient search tools could prove to be very functional in driving conversions. Without a doubt, visual search is one of those revolutionary tools that can provide consumers with better and more relevant search results and help businesses drive growth by making it easier for said consumers.

A win-win situation for both parties, advanced technology will bring this ease and convenience to online searches.

Visual search and e-commerce

With the improvement of technologies and consumers wanting more platforms in terms of convenience and ease of use, visual search and voice search have seen impressive growth in recent years. Visual search may not be there in terms of absolute performance, but it’s gradually becoming a standard for online shopping.

Yes, the visual search technology is not very refined, but neither have customers shown a changing trend in online searches. Conventional research is preferred; visual and voice search still need adjustments, but they are the new way forward.

According to several studies, the global visual search market will grow by 9% over the next two years. Currently, only 8% of retailers have built-in software that enables visual search. However, the number is set to increase once the general consumer realizes the potential of visual search.

Brands that adopt these systems early would find themselves leading the rest of the group towards a much more practical research protocol. Redesigning existing platforms to accommodate the potential for visual and voice search might prove difficult, but developing technology may soon become a mainstay of the digital ecosystem. Gartner studies estimate that brands that put visual and voice search on their platforms would see a potential increase in revenue of 30%. The current state of technology might not be as effective; However, that will change as the digital landscape evolves, as does this technology.

The implementation of visual search in the fashion industry would prove to be of tremendous benefit to the consumer, who can search for a garment or accessory by simply clicking on an image and downloading it along with the brand; that sees higher conversions due to increased consumer engagement.

A visual search would help in greater precision in product discovery, and therefore in conversions. Plus, the added benefit of having a clear view of customer motivations to deliver a highly personalized experience.

Visual search will also allow consumers to choose from a large catalog of similar-looking products while removing language barriers when shopping online. A unique online research method, visual search proves the whole experience on the part of the user, where their convenience and ease of use are indeed better.


Online research has become an indispensable part of our lives, and the background algorithms that allow results to be displayed so quickly have also become increasingly sophisticated. Visual search is at the center of this changing landscape and will be the radical paradigm that will forever change the way we shop.

Visual search, without a doubt, has the potential to change the way we interact with the online market space. The biggest challenge would be the massive adoption of the technology; however, once it finds its wind, the climb could be astronomical, more impactful than anything we’ve seen before.

(The author is the founder, Khojdeal. The opinions expressed are personal.)

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