The way we currently shop for fashion online is broken. While most of us get inspired to shop on social media – 75% of Instagram users visit a brand site after seeing one of their products on the app – the flow from inspirational image to checkout still isn’t smooth. We see a picture of a beautiful coat, then go on a retailer’s or brand’s online shop to try and find something similar. We type keywords – coat, long, blue, maybe it’s wool? – set search filters, scroll, scroll, scroll. Can’t really find what we were looking for. Annoyed and discouraged, we abandon the effort. No coat for us, and no sale for the retailer. There must be a better way.
Text-based search doesn’t really work for fashion
Describing fashion with words is difficult. To prove just how unfruitful text-based searches are for online shopping, we set up a small test where we as users first used only text, search filters and scrolling to find a product, then just an image to find the same product.
Using only text and filters, it took on average 4 minutes to find the product. 70% of users found the skirt eventually, whereas the rest gave up the search because they couldn’t find the desired product. The more the product gallery, the more difficult it is to find what you are looking for.
By uploading the image with the visual search tool, users were able to find the desired product in 31s, so 8 times faster than with text.
From Inspiration to Transaction in One Click
From the results above, we can infer that searching with images is not only a lot faster than searching with text, it also yields a higher success rate. We live and breathe images, on mobile and social media. Images are key for our communication and inspiration. So when it comes to searching for fashion, it only makes sense to use images to find the products we are looking for.