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Why visual search is the next major trend in ecommerce product search?

By living in a world in which 90% of information transmitted to the human brain is visual (according to the MIT), technologies such as visual search are the true game changers in their domain. This is not a passing trend, already 62% of millennials in fact said they prefer a search with images over any other technology during the digital shopping experience.


By living in a world in which 90% of information transmitted to the human brain is visual (according to the MIT), technologies such as visual search are the true game changers in their domain.

Visual search is the process of searching for content using real-world imagery instead of texts: no more keywords or long descriptions but a simple photo, screenshot, or internet image to get the results you were looking for.

Visual search

This technology finds its best application in the E-commerce industry where the products’ searches work on a constant visual association. Retailers in this way can capture and retain the attention of shoppers by always providing new items related to the previous ones through matching styles and themes.

This is not a passing trend, already 62% of millennials in fact said they prefer a search with images over any other technology during the digital shopping experience.

Visual search - Ecommerce integration

Visual search - Ecommerce integration results


This powerful tool is based on computer vision, using artificial intelligence which trains computers to interpret image data. Thanks to the development of machine learning, computer vision, which already existed years ago, it found a use in content search. By using artificial intelligence, the computer analyzes and recognizes the characteristics of the image that will be used to find the right product. Search after search, the computer treats more data that helps the engine to be more accurate and efficient in its recommendations.


Today, visual search is essential because social media has conditioned consumers to think visually.(1)
When it comes to online shopping, 85% of the consumers place more importance on visual than on text information.(2) They found inspirations online and want to find the product they saw easily and quickly.

Visual search - Statistics

The strength of visual search is in its conversion rate which is between 8-10%. Just think that Pinterest is the most used social network in the world to make purchases starting from an image search. As early as 2018 Pinterest Lens had 600 million searches each month and now, they have tripled.(3)

The implementation of this tool generates a virtuous circle for brands in which sharing (on social media) generates more shopping desire (online). In fact, users are 50% more likely to engage with a brand or to make a purchase decision because of social media.(4)

On the retailers’ side, with the increasing need for companies to automate the customer service with chatbots and visual searching the choice of the right tool is crucial.

Indeed, each company should think about which tool would be the most relevant for her. While the chatbot assists shoppers in their pre-sale shopping and post-sale potential issues, the visual search tool will smooth the product research by proposing the right product to the customers. The two technologies would rather be integrated together since they are both AI-driven. The combination of both technologies will lead to an even better shopping experience for the clients and greater revenues for the brands due to a higher conversion rate and a better sales optimization.


Cleed integrated the visual search tool in its shopping advisory service to create an even deeper experience for shoppers. Since its birth, Cleed helps fashion retailers to personalize the user experience of their eshop thanks to a smart AI conversational assistant that engages and advises the visitors.

From an automated and efficient live chat, shoppers find all the specific answers, trends, inspirations they need. And now they have also the chance to search for articles based on real-world imagery. Currently Cleed allows users to find similar products to the one they are looking for, using the photos of the product catalog. In the near future, it will also be possible to do so from an external photo of your smartphone.

Cleed is able to create the synergy retailers and shoppers need thanks to multiples values added in both experiences:

  • Advanced recommendation system for a better personalized customer experience
  • Unique Live chat conversational experience, supervised by humans
  • Plug & Play: an effortless implementation by the retailer with only 1 line of code to add
  • Concrete data analysis on a simple and easy to read dashboard to have a clear vision of the website’s general performance with key figures.



Visual search - Benefits

The aim of these technologies is to offer customers the most relevant, instantaneous answer (live chat) and the most precise product recommendation (visual search) in order to maximize the chances of purchase. In addition, visual search allows the brands to deliver a more engaging customer experience since they address people who already have the desire to buy or at least an interest in these types of products. It can be compared to the shopping version of Shazam. Brands will therefore benefit from an increasing revenue due to a higher conversion rate. The visual search can also help brands reaching the new Z-generation customers more comfortable with these types of tools.


The shoppers will benefit from a better and qualitative customer shopping experience: simple, visual, attractive, and answering their needs. Visual search saves time and makes it easier to find the products they want. In fact, she doesn’t depend on the client's expertise because if he doesn't find the specific words to describe the product, he will never find it. Visual search proposes relevant recommendations but also similar products, so the clients can have different options. They can also compare the products and maybe find a cheaper option or a similar product in case of out of stock.


Visual search trend

Over the years, we’ve seen an increasing importance of "images" in society. This evolution has completely changed the way we search for information leading to the rise of visual search.

In 2019, 30% of google requests in the USA were visual.(5)

But what's next? The visual search technology will keep growing to become a norm and assert itself over normal keyword’s search.

By 2025, new techniques will allow brands to improve their ranking in visual search results.(6)


To get the most out of its use, some prerequisites are necessary:

  • A significant catalog size
  • Homogeneous visuals without too much "noise" in the image

The pluses:

  • Descriptions of the image and details in the product that can help the algorithms

Sectoral aspects:

If in cosmetics the image is mainly linked to the packaging and therefore offers less potential, in other sectors such as fashion, jewelry or even decoration, the image is at the heart of the consumer's choice and the visual search will therefore be all the more relevant.

Visual search can be implemented on any ecommerce site via the tool (either in chatbot format, or possibly directly on the site). If you're interested in learning more, select a demo slot to discuss this together!


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