Visual Search Engines are the future and ASOS lets you find clothes by snapping a picture

The way we use search engines is broadening.  We no longer need to type in keywords when we can simply snap a photo and get instant results for what we’re searching.  Computer algorithms are advancing with visual search engines, which are becoming a common practice in the online landscape.

Pinterest, for example, recently launched a new feature called “Lens” that lets you use a photo of a real-world item to find related themes and pins, or even recipes based on food you see in real life.  Pinterest reported over 600 million visual searches per month.  E-Commerce giant eBay is also using computer vision search tools to help shoppers find items using photos.

 

ASOS Visual Fashion

With that in mind, European online fashion giant ASOS is today rolling out its “style match” visual feature to consumers everywhere.

By way of a quick recap, ASOS is a U.K.-based online fashion retailer that now also operates within France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Australia, Russia, and the U.S., as well as shipping globally. Though ASOS grew out of the U.K., only one-third of its annual $2.7 billion annual sales now emanate from the island. More specifically, 12 percent of its 16 million customers are now based in North America. The U.S. now represents one of the company’s fastest growing markets, with sales climbing 40 percent in Q4 2017 — a figure that will only increase when its second U.S. distribution center opens in Atlanta later this year.

In August last year, ASOS introduced its visual search tool through its mobile app in the U.K., and today the company is making it available to shoppers globally. This means everyone will be able to snap a photo of a pair of shoes or a dress they see in the local pub — or upload an existing photo from their camera roll — and find similar items on ASOS.

“We know this [mobile] is where our customers are, and it’s how they interact with us everyday, so we’re always looking for mobile-native ways to make their experience even better,” said Berks.

Berks added that the company plans to boost its existing 900-strong technology team by a further 200 people this year.

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