The importance of visual AI search for eCommerce. By Heikki Haldre 

The digital shopping landscape has witnessed a tremendous transformation in the last few decades, becoming an integral part of our daily lives. However, despite its advancements, there remains a significant challenge that continues to hinder the user experience: the difficulty shoppers face in finding exactly what they want.

Studies suggest that 80 percent of online shoppers leave an online website because they struggle to locate their desired products. This problem becomes even more pronounced when dealing with visually complex items that are hard to describe using conventional words and categories.

In this article, we will describe how Visual AI, combined with an understanding of the psychology of shopping, can revolutionize eCommerce search functionalities and subsequently improve customer experience.

The challenge of finding visually complex products
The traditional search mechanisms on eCommerce platforms primarily rely on product metadata and predefined categories. While this may work for straightforward and easily describable products, it falls short when it comes to items with intricate details or unique characteristics. For example, a shopper looking for a specific style of home décor or a unique fashion accessory might find it challenging to articulate their exact requirements in words, leading to a search experience that is frustrating and often fruitless.

Visual AI: A game changer for eCommerce search
Visual AI is poised to address this gap by introducing a new dimension to online search capabilities. By utilizing advanced image recognition and machine learning algorithms, Visual AI enables shoppers to search for products using images instead of text.

In visual image search, artificial intelligence recognizes what is in the picture and uses that information to find items similar in an online store or to identify objects in images.

A visual-AI-based eCommerce shopping experience works like this: shoppers search for products using images in their head instead of words. Based on the user’s browsing behavior and interactions with different products, the AI is able to identify the key features from each one and match them to relevant inventory items, thus returning only relevant products to the user.

As a result of this seamless process, search accuracy increases and the customer’s journey to finding the perfect item is sped up – a great way to boost customer satisfaction and sales.

Visual AI can analyze a shopper’s subconscious reactions to different products, identifying patterns and preferences that the shopper might not even be aware of. This level of insight allows eCommerce platforms to offer personalized recommendations and inspire shoppers to discover and purchase products that truly resonate with their tastes and preferences.

The psychology of shopping and visual ecommerce
Understanding shopping psychology is vital for grasping Visual AI’s impact on eCommerce. Shopping is a sensory, identity-expressing activity, with product visuals playing a key role in attracting customers and inducing purchase desires.

Online shoppers are drawn to visually appealing products, but text-based search difficulties can cause frustration and loss of interest. Visual AI addresses this by enhancing the browsing experience, making it more intuitive, engaging, and similar to in-store shopping.

This adaptation to shopping’s visual nature allows eCommerce platforms to offer immersive, personalized user experiences, shifting from text dependency and fostering a more natural product exploration.

Improving customer experience with easy search
At its core, the goal of integrating Visual AI into eCommerce search functionalities is to improve the overall customer experience. Easy and intuitive search options are a critical component of this, as they directly impact a shopper’s ability to find what they are looking for and, consequently, their satisfaction with the platform.

The ability to locate products quickly and easily enhances shoppers’ experience and increases their likelihood of purchasing. Moreover, eCommerce platforms can boost basket sizes and conversion rates by providing shoppers with personalized recommendations based on their visual preferences.

An improved search experience builds trust and loyalty between the shopper and the platform. Shoppers are more likely to return to a site where they had a positive and seamless shopping experience, fostering a sense of reliability and preference for that particular platform.

Forward thoughts
The integration of Visual AI into eCommerce search functionalities represents a significant leap forward in addressing the challenges faced by online shoppers, particularly when it comes to finding visually complex products. By reacting to subconscious reactions and preferences, Visual AI has the potential to revolutionize the way we search for and discover products online, creating a more intuitive, personalized, and satisfying shopping experience.

As eCommerce continues to evolve, retailers must adapt and innovate to meet customers’ changing needs and expectations. Visual AI, combined with an understanding of the psychology of shopping, offers a promising solution to the longstanding issue of search inefficiency, paving the way for a new era of digital retail that is visually driven, user-centric, and immensely rewarding.

For a list of the sources used in this article, please contact the editor.

Heikki Haldre is Co-Founder and CEO of Miros, an AI deep tech company dedicated to building out the next generation of Human-Computer Interaction in eCommerce. Miros is building a future where online shoppers can communicate with computers as if they would with a friend, in an intuitive, conversational fashion.