How Visual Search Can Help Your Business

February 9, 2017

People upload and share billions of photos every day: the smartphone has become the everyman’s camera and the cloud has expanded our storage capabilities. Visual content is king. In riding this shift in priority content, Visual Search technology has come into new prominence, dominating media coverage and shaping the digital marketing and eCommerce spheres.

Visual Search

What is Visual Search?

Visual Search is the ability to search using an image, against an inventory of hundreds, if not thousands, of images and finding the exact match or similar images, without the need for text or data, in the blink of an eye. 
In today’s image-driven world, it’s getting more and more difficult to find specific products using a text query. Say you spot something you really love, but you don’t know how to find it or what it’s even called: this image recognition technology lets you find all those things you don’t have the words to describe. Think of it as a Visual Search Engine that allows you to easily access, organize, or recommend your images or products by visual similarity. 
Unlike image search (which returns images for a text-based query) or reverse image search (which often relies on metadata to match results), Visual Search derives its results from the supplied image itself.

Visual Search and eCommerce: A Natural Partnership

Retail is a natural application of this technology, offering the utmost convenience and intuitive search experience. Keywords can only take you so far when descriptors like black dress shoe” apply to hundreds, if not thousands, of products. Shoppers, for example, can snap a photo of a piece of clothing on their smartphones, which is then matched with similar styles available to buy on the retailer’s website. 
But this isn’t only limited to fashion. Take lifestyle as another example. Imagine shoppers browsing through images of various interior design themes, and the retailer’s image recognition technology will suggest similar items homewares, soft furnishings, furniture based on user preferences and selections. Then when shoppers hover over a particular image, the retailer can scan its product listings for all inventory that match (or nearly match) that image (or portion of the image).
Pairing images with its similar products is just one of the many ways Visual Search is transforming eCommerce. This technology can also help retailers with stock management, converting dead ends into sales by displaying visually similar alternatives.

Clean Your Data 

Maintenance work on image banks loaded with thousands of images takes a lot of time and manpower however Visual Search can cut that down in an instant. With the immediate results of Visual Search capabilities, duplicates and unwanted images can be cleaned regularly from your database.

The Many Applications of Visual Search

Visual Search stops the keyword guessing game to find that drawing, art piece, map, or blueprint in an instant. With the snap of a camera, manufacturers can use the technology as a tool to identify the components of their inventory. Publishers, meanwhile, can use Visual Search to source quality visual content from their photo libraries. And Digital Asset Management (DAM) software can incorporate Visual Search capabilities to organize and curate their customers’ content visually
For most businesses, this artificial intelligent-driven technology is the logical next step in a world dominated by visuals and imagery. PicScout, a pioneer in image recognition since 2002, has been using and refining its Visual Search technology since its early beginnings. As part of its Visual API capabilities, PicScout’s Visual Search is unrivaled in its pedigree: over the years, we’ve accumulated a registry of over 300-million unique owner-identified images (the largest of its kind in the world) giving us the advantage of quality subject matter, better auto-tagging and a huge variety of image choices to constantly improve our technology. Our deep learning is based on high-quality photography, producing more focused and more accurate results than many of our competitors.
For a robust, scalable and fast Visual Search for your business, contact us today to discuss how PicScout’s Visual API can help your business, and change the way you and your customers search.

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