Visual search is rising. Gartner predicts that eCommerce brands that optimize for voice and visual search have the potential to increase profits by 30%. Although it’s only a prediction, keeping your business up to date and using new marketing tactics is essential and a must-do step for brands.
In fact, online shopping has become a trend and people feel more comfortable buying things online rather than going to the markets. They love the click and buy process that is so easy and comfortable.
It is time to optimize your eCommerce site for visual search to increase your sales, boost revenue, and grow your customer list. In this article, I am going to cover everything about visual search and how to properly optimize your content to maximize your profits with existing traffic.
Visual search is when a user searches for something by an image, rather than a keyword.
Visual search makes it easier
- When you don’t know what you are looking for
- When you are looking to match a particular style
- When your search query is way too long and complicated.
It is a more targeted and user-friendly form of search. A user starts a search by pointing the camera at an object and getting the exact match or something similar to it. You can use it for anything that you don’t know but want to find on the internet.
There is a clear difference between the two. In an image search, you would type in a query in the search box, and the search engine would return image results for your keyword. The image search begins with a keyword. On the other side, a visual search starts with an image, you would enter an image, or point your Google Lens camera at it and the search engine provides an exact match or similar images to give you more options.
Typing search, which is the oldest, famous, and most used form of search, is now replaced with voice and visual search. This sounds crazy, but typing search has to come to an endpoint soon.
How widely is Visual Search used?
Visual search gains a valuable attraction from the fashion industry. People love using the latest form of search as part of their shopping experience. Several platforms are leading the way by enabling their users to search visually.
Google, Bing, are at the forefront of search engines, while Pinterest is ahead of all other social media platforms. In September 2018, Snapchat introduced a feature that enables users to find Amazon products directly from their Snapchat app using the Snapchat camera.
Despite a welcoming scenario for visual search, it is in a growing stage at the moment. Platforms are trying to make it better and provide the most accurate results to the users. Here are the most famous and most used visual search platforms that online businesses should optimize for.
The Pinterest lens has become more popular in less time than others. And it was the first social media platform to have this feature. In the Pinterest app, you can take a new or existing photo and complete the search. You get similar images and recommendations.
Pinterest released a new feature in May 2019, called hybrid search. This allows you to search by combining the aesthetic of an existing pin with text provided by the platform.
In June 2019, Pinterest announced a new feature called “complete the look”. It leverages context like an outfit, body type, and season to generate case-based recommendations. You will be able to find shoes or a bag to match the outfit, or curtains to fit in your living room. This helps you choose the best match to complete your style.
In Google Photos, you can use an existing image to do the visual search. you click on the visual search icon and it will perform the search for you. Google lens can now identify over 1 billion items. That’s 4 times as many as when they launched in 2017. Google has added several new features to Google lens.
Some of those are new filters, you can now scan your environment and search for items that exist in reality. And it can also identify and recommend items on a menu when you go to a restaurant. It can translate text from print directly onto your phone and go from text to speech. You can identify animals and plants and explore nearby places and their historical facts with Google’s lens.
A Snapchat camera is another way to visually search for products on Amazon. It is so simple and easy to use. Just point your Snapchat camera on a physical product or barcode, click and hold on the camera screen to get started.
When a Snapchat camera recognizes the item or barcode, an Amazon card will appear on-screen, showing an image of a similar product with a link for that product or similar ones available on Amazon.
Visual Search – The possibilities for eCcommerce
It is no secret that AR could have many amazing possibilities for online shopping. Here are some stats showing the ground reality. How and why you should integrate visual search into your platform.
Discovering new products is not an easy task for people. But Pinterest is a great platform for new brands to get a place and reputation in the market. 97% of Pinterest searches are unbranded, 83% of Pinners report making a purchase after seeing content from brands on Pinterest, it’s an excellent way for people to find out about unknown brands and products. It’s a great opportunity for smaller and less known brands to get discovered and grow their business on a platform that has 442 million monthly users.
Let’s move forward:
If the technology exists, why not use it and take advantage. You should try and leverage existing platforms and partnerships. You should optimize content for platforms where your audience already hangs out like on Instagram and Pinterest.
If your content is not on Pinterest. You are missing a huge opportunity. I realize their audience isn’t as large as Google or Facebook or Amazon.
However, the Pinterest lens has over 600 million visual searches per month. And 250 million people use visual search from around the world. Those people are looking to buy different products in different categories. Proportionately Pinterest generates the most traffic out of all the other social media networks to e-commerce sites. And that is why using and trying it out is a must for e-commerce brands.
Integrating Visual Search with your platform
As a marketer, you should know that big brands are already integrating visual search to help their business. If you want to integrate visual search, partner with a company that already does this. There are several leaders in the industry, some of them include Visenze.
Levi’s is a big fashion brand that already has popularity amongst people. But they partner with Pinterest to create, find your Levi’s style. There, people can go online and fill out a quiz and they will recommend a style option for you.
ASOS collaborates with Visenze to integrate visual search into their platform. A recent study found that 72% said that the platform inspires them to shop when they are not actually looking to buy. So take advantage and create compelling in-store experiences. The ones that are proven successful are ones that have done things in the store to make the experience better for their customers.
Alibaba and Guess collaborated to bring a much better customer experience that provides customers both online and offline shopping behavior. So that you try an outfit and select other colors or accessories to go with your outfit. Amazon created a hi-tech mirror so you can project and outfit it on to you so you don’t have to try it on. Another great thing is using the Pin codes. They can be displayed in the store for the customers to look up a product and also be taken to a curated Pinterest board.
Increasing revenue with Visual Search
Gartner predicts that by 2021, E-Commerce brands that optimize for voice and visual search have the potential to increase profits by 30%. Although it’s a prediction only, keeping your business up to date is necessary to attract customers and skyrocket your sales for more profit.
Visual Search user expectations
Did you know that 85% of consumers place more importance on visuals than on text when searching online for clothing or furniture? And although it’s not widely used at the moment. The visual search has more user expectations. According to the Visenze study, 62% of young people would like to be able to search by image. And over 50% of them would like to be able to click directly to make a purchase. 73% of US and 81% of UK consumers’ product purchases are inspired by visual inspiration.
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Visual Search mistakes
Visual search still needs improvements and it is not perfect yet. Sometimes lenses tend to auto-select the wrong focal point. They also tend to categorize a person instead of a product on occasion. And sometimes they display items that are currently out of stock, leaving customers and users frustrated. In all of the above cases, an online business may lose some sales and customer trust. To avoid these mistakes, you need to optimize your images in technical and non-technical ways.
How to optimize your eCommerce store for Visual Search
Visual search is all about optimizing your images. Everything that you do and can do to optimize your images will really help visual search. It is not difficult like SEO which looks difficult for new brands to do and get a place on Google. And also, optimizing your images can avoid visual search mistakes and get you a lot of advantages. So how to optimize for images to address these pitfalls?
The first thing is, make sure the images are indexed by submitting image sitemaps. Secondly, basic product data from the shopping feed helps visual search technology understand your content.
If you have ad accounts, you can sync product data from your site directly to the Google merchant center and Pinterest catalogs. This allows visitors to search by brand. You should check this out. This helps keep product info updated on search results and avoid penalties from Google.
Like many rich results, product images have the potential to generate traffic and quick sales. In the product description, I highly recommend including your USPs. if you have free shipping, include it in the description. It could be the deciding factor in getting a click. Use the most relevant schema for your images. add rich pins to your site.
This can reduce friction by improving the pin to purchase process. It will reduce the potential frustration by eliminating any items that are out of stock from the user’s feed.
It can get you far ahead of your competition.
Your site images matter always. Whether it be site speed, visual search, or user experience, they play key roles. There are a few things you have to keep in mind while uploading your images to your e-commerce site.
Technical image optimization for Visual Search
Image size is key for loading the website faster. And no matter from which type of search you get the visitor, he will click away if your site is not loading fast. Result?
Decrease in sales. That is why image size should be on your list of essential things. Choose the image size according to the width of your website content. Use the right format like jpeg and PNG. And finally, compress them with online tools like TinyPNG and CompressNow.
Internet users use different devices for browsing and finally shopping for something. Stats show that above 50% of users use mobile for internet browsing and shopping. Keeping these stats in mind, you have to refine your mobile marketing strategy, and make your images responsive on all devices.
Use targeted file names of your images. The filename should be appropriate, targeted, and descriptive.
Alt tag means an alternative tag. It appears in place of an image when it fails to load.
And it becomes more important in visual search than SEO. This text is read by search engines and helps them to understand the purpose of the picture. Always use the most relevant alt tag to the image. This can impact your rankings and boost sales.
Non-technical optimization for Visual Search
To be honest, non-technical optimization is more important than technical in the case of visual search. It is all about the mage that a user uses for searching for something. As an e-commerce seller, you must give attention and prioritize the non-technical things of an image. There are a few things that can change the game for an online store.
Your images should be on Brand and by the way completely on your own brand. It is the most important aspect of visual search because it helps search engines to understand the product and brand behind the image. You should have your own images especially if you are selling lifestyle products. You should have the copyright of these images and full control over them. Also, customize it to your look and feel so that people know that it’s your brand.
Clutter-free Images For Visual Search optimization
Do not make noise in your images. Make them clear around your product and do not confuse the search engine and Pinterest Lens. They must be clearly understandable.
Your images should have a clear focal point and be in the foreground. Foreground means the closest part of the image to the camera. So in the complete image, your product should be in front not in the back. It should be asking search engines that “hello, I am here”.
Your e-commerce images should be relevant to your product and category. Secondly, your text should be relevant and engaging for your audience and the images themselves. Also, provide context for your images. About within the image itself and the text surrounding the images. You can use stock images for your online store but I do not recommend it. Because there are no images that are used by fewer people.
There is no better way than sharing every angle of your product on an online store for better conversions. No doubt, it is great for customer experience as well. Include multiple angles of each product so your customer can properly evaluate your product. Plus, remove any image that does not add value. Make sure that your content and your images are tropical and on-trend, and relevant to your audience. and think beyond keywords.
As a digital marketer, keeping an eye on the opportunities that the future holds is a unique skill – visual search is one of those opportunities.
In technology, the first comers are the leaders. Think about how you can understand the emotions of your audience on social media. Adapt your content and images so they are timely and relevant to your audience to improve discovery, engagement, and conversions.
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