Then Smarter.com upped the ante with the “Smarter Visual Search (shown here looking for a Hawaiian shirt). BTW, I totally dig the Smarter.com robot guy, but wouldn’t he fall right over with those big arms paired with those little chicken robot legs?
Now image search company Riya is launching like.com which was featured in the November 7th WSJ. Like shows you images from celebrities and allows you to pick various items they are wearing and then runs a CSE-lite on them so you can find them online.
This takes the visual search idea and instead of making it a feature, makes it the main way to shop. It will be very interesting to see how these shopping methods gain in popularity. It certainly makes sense for the apparel items, furniture and other non CE categories where you don’t have an easy way to match SKU, and want to shop by “look”.
If visual search/shopping, does gain traction, retailers need to be ready by sprucing up their images and being prepared to publish them in more detail to the CSEs.
It will also be interesting to see if retailers move the functionality on-site like they have consumer reviews and parametric search which started out with CSE innovation, then moved to retailer on-site features.
BTW, my favourite visual search is available at Etsy.com – I’ve warned you though, it’s mesmerizing and addictive, I could mess with that one for hours.