10 December 2018

Picture Perfect

Several e-sellers are already working on integrating image recognition as part of their business which makes it possible to advise and guide the customers in ways that were previously only reserved for the physical shops. Through visual recognition of the customers' requests and needs, they optimise the customer journey and guide the customers to the optimal purchase in an even more intelligent way. A trend which in the next period of years will revolutionise the way in which the consumers are searching for products.

Visual discovery makes intelligent search more intelligent

Over time, we have grown accustomed to the fact that our preferred webshops know us and our preferences based on earlier purchases and searches we have made. We therefore expect to be presented with products which match our style and requirements. The opportunity to filter and make cross searches as well as the data which the individual webshop has on us has previously framed the intelligent search which the webshops have been able to offer. These features and functions have been the technical counterpart to the shop assistants’ style recognition which for many years has helped create the framework of the tradesmanship of the physical clothing shops. Here the shop assistants have been able to advice and guide the customers based on what the customers were wearing, which style it represented and what the customers drew and explained.

Imagine that this kind of tradesmanship, with the visual recognition of the customers' style and requirements, is no longer reserved for the physical shops but also becomes a more integrated part of the already rather intelligent online search for clothing or interior. At the world’s largest e-commerce conference, Shoptalk, in Las Vegas it was quite obvious that Artificial Intelligence in the form of product and image recognition is now so mature that you as e-sellers can use it and make your already intelligent search for the customers even more user-friendly and precise and thus aim even higher when it comes to offering the ultimate customer journey.

Google Lens

One of the giants, which has already made it easier to search for products via style match online, is Google. With its app ‘Google Lens’, Google has made it possible for the users to take a picture of a certain product and search for it in Google’s own search engine. In this way, Google is improving the customer journey for all online users in just one click. Using Google Lens, the consumers can be inspired by anything, anywhere. By merely taking a picture, Google can display similar products, where to buy them and how much they cost.

It has never been easier to find the lamp you saw in the hotel in London or the salt and pepper grinders from the restaurant you visited last night. An impressive function which not only makes online searching easier and faster but is definitely also more fun. Google Lens’s image recognition can also be used for many other things, e.g. identification of objects such as buildings, wine or dog breeds and translation of texts. Google offers Google Lens for Android smartphones and the app can be downloaded by searching for ‘Google Zoom’ in Google Play.

A better customer journey and a wider selection

Using product recognition in your webshop, you can improve the customer journey significantly in various situations. You can, for example, help the male customer segment which is now able to take a picture of the wife’s favourite dress and have the webshop display the best offers for a spot on present for her or have your customers take a picture of their worn favourite shoes and have the webshop give an offer for a new pair. The webshop will intelligently come up with the best offer for new styles which match the picture it was presented with and the customer avoids finding the filters necessary to find the best offer for a match.

Together with the preferences you already have for each customer, image recognition can, in future, provide your customers with fantastic offers for products they must own without having to consider filtering in their searches. In this way, the customers’ searches will reach a wider audience than normally since perhaps they were only used to look for clothes from certain brands; which means possible additional sales for you. By integrating product and image recognition in your webshop, you provide your customers with a faster, easier and more profitable customer journey.

ASOS

One of the companies that already offers image recognition in the customers’ searches is the clothing and fashion retailer Asos. In Asos, the customers can now search for styles that match the picture they choose to upload. This paves the way for a lot of new possibilities for Asos’s customers who can find clothes that match what they already have in their wardrobes but also clothes they see elsewhere: in magazines, in the fitting room in another clothing shop or the mega nice dress the friend is wearing and search directly in Asos's range of products to find something that matches the style. Using image recognition, Asos has also opened up for many more search options for their customers which have made it easier for them to be inspired elsewhere but instead bring the inspiration to Asos where they will make their purchase.

Plandent

It is not only in the B2C market that product recognition is a hot topic. Also the B2B market experiences a huge potential in offering product recognition to the customers. One of the companies that already for several years has used product recognition is Denmark’s largest supplier of equipment and consumer goods for dental clinics and Hesehus’s customer for 16 years, Plandent. Already in the spring of 2016, Plandent went live with its app ‘Smartkøb’ (smart buy) which Hesehus helped develop.

The app helps dental assistants to find a specific product by taking a picture of a Plandent product and thus via image recognition find the product and variations and place the selected product directly in the basket and place an order. Fast, easy and simple. An extra bonus in the scanning function of ‘Smartkøb’ is that it is not only limited to recognising certain products but can also be used for scanning bar codes whereupon the app will present the customer with the product which belongs to the scanned bar code. In this way, Plandent has made the customer journey significantly shorter, faster and smarter which means a lot for the dental assistants in their hectic working day.

Are you also interested in offering image recognition as an active part of the customer journey to your customers? We would like to invite you for a cup of coffee or we can visit you for a non-binding talk about your options.

Please contact CEO Lars Hedal at +45 40 25 50 83 or hedal@hesehus.dk

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