The Future of Shopping: Visual Search to Enhance the Customer Experience

Updated on :June 13, 2024
By :Jaimi Panchal

People have been using visual searches for many years. But, retailers have just started using this tool to boost their customer experience. Nowadays, many people shop through multichannel retail, so a visual search makes it easier to find what they are looking for. 

This amazing visual search is a great tool to engage your customers. If you own a Shopify store, it would be a lot easier and cost-effective to try this tool. You can use Shopify web development, or if you are not into technology, you can consult an expert. 

With apps like Pinterest, the popularity of visual search has increased many folds. Launched in 2017, the Pinterest Lens feature has made the visual search possible on the app. You can click a pic offline on your smartphone and then find related pins. The searches on this app have reached 600 million monthly and increasing by every passing year. 

What is Visual Search?

This article will help you learn what visual search can do for your retail business. But, let’s first look into what is visual search. 

You can take a picture of whatever you wish to purchase and upload it to the visual search engine of your choice and look for similar visual results of available items. When your customer uses the visual search for searching a product, they expect the results in images or photos rather than keywords normally used in search engines. 

For instance, Tommy Hilfiger played a marketing trick by allowing the guests to click photos of items on their 2017 runway show’s models and use it on their app’s visual search engine to buy the presented items. 

Advantages of Visual Search

Visual search is a powerful tool to make the whole experience quicker, easier, and fun for shoppers in the retail market. The following are the advantages of visual search for retailers. 

1. Eases the Process From Search to Conversion

With a keyword search, the customer will take more time to decide whether to purchase or not. But the visual search will help them to take a mental picture of what they are looking for and show the actual available products online. If you could make it easier to find the customer’s choice products, there will be less friction in making a sale.

2. Merge Both Offline and Online Shopping Experiences

Nowadays, people are looking for an effortless and less time-consuming shopping experience. They want to shift with ease from a physical store, a website to a mobile app, or any other platform.

With the help of a visual search, you can combine the offline and online shopping experiences. The customers can snap a photo of any dress from a physical store and look for similar things online. 

3. More Clarity

If you are searching with keyword web search, you will receive hundreds of pages of similar products. This leads to some tough competition online. With the help of a visual search, you can cater to the available product's results. The customers can then make a purchasing decision with ease. 

4. Conversion Rate

It is difficult to track the effectiveness of social proof and word of mouth marketing in the retail market. Visual search will make it easier for the customers to figure out what their favorite celebrity is wearing. This tool provides a direct connection between what people see and the brand. 

5. Track and Measure Success

It is easy and effective to track visual search performance. In case your customer is purchasing something through an image, you can trace back through which visual they search the product. This way, you can identify a specific product or category which is consistently reviewed or purchased. 

Use Cases of Visual Search in Enhancing Customer Experience 

The above benefits might have inclined you towards using visual search. So, let's look into some of the big retailers that are the perfect-use cases to learn from.


Target decided to penetrate the visual search by allowing Pinterest Lens, Pinterest’s visual search tool, into their mobile app. By visiting a Target store, the customers can click photos of any product on the app to get similar items. This way, the customers will be able to browse products easily, instead of going through the entire product catalog. This also helps the customers to check out the full lineup rather than just the available products in one store.

This tool also helps Target capitalize on social networks through Pinterest Lens. Pinterest allows retailers to engage with customers earlier before a transaction takes place. 

The Takeaways

Pinterest Lens is the easy gateway as you don’t need to build your visual search engine. You can also carry the test of visual search waters. Consolidate Pinterest’s Save button into your website. By tapping into the platform’s popularity list, you can make your products easy to find for your potential customers. 

Forever 21

This brand has taken the visual search path by exploring the visual way of thinking about products and purchases. Alex Ok, President of Forever 21, says that visual search technology can do wonders to integrate the convenience of online shopping and the rich discovery experience of traditional retail. 

Forever 21 integrated visual search and artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance the eCommerce shopping experience. The customers can then search for attributes like shirt neckline, color, or dress length.  

The Takeaways

Keep track of customer behavior and experience happening from your eCommerce and physical retail store. Then, understand and integrate visual search to bridge the gap. Form a proper strategy on how you will leverage this tool to make your customers conceptualize and think about your products. You can offer more curated and relevant suggestions to shoppers by amalgamating computer vision and artificial intelligence. 

Using a visual search engine like Pinterest Lens can help even the smallest or independent artist grow business. You can bridge the gap between in-person and ecommerce shopping. Whether your brand is small or big, don’t hesitate to try this piece of retail technology. It will not only enhance your customers’ experience but also increase your sales.

Wrapping Up!

Leveraging visual search effectively enhances the customer experience for your brand. So, what not try it now!

Jaimi Panchal
Jaimi Panchal

Jaimi Panchal is a Marketing Head at Techerudite. Marketing and writing is her passion.  You can find her writing on leadership and motivating entrepreneurs on Cogenttalks.

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