Smarter Launches Visual Search Beta

Hot on the heels of Become launching its color search offering, Smarter today launched Visual Search Beta. Right now I’m just going to discuss the basics. I might follow up on the technology behind the offering at a later date.

Visual search can be found by clicking on the Clothing & Accessories tab or by searching for any product within that section. Right now Visual Search Beta is a bit hidden as the consumer has to click on a small link under the header.

When Paul Willmes of Smarter walked me through Visual Search, I was happy to find that Smarter took a different approach than ShopWiki and Become. This feature is all about clothing. Users select gender, then a top (shirt, sweater, etc.) and bottom (pants, shorts, etc.), then choose the color for each. Visual Search

Smarter Visual Search then returns two bands of products (the top on top, the bottom on bottom) so users can see what the products might look like together. The searcher can easily scroll through the listings to see more choices.

Smarter Visual Search

This is a good start for Smarter, but to make the feature truly useful for consumers, Smarter needs to add the ability to view selected products together…click on a top and a bottom and then view the 2 products together in a separate window without store, pricing, and descriptive information in the way.

But that’s just the first piece of the puzzle as a user can’t easily buy the two products together. Even if the products are sold by the same merchant, a user has to click through, put the first product in a cart, then toggle back to Smarter, repeat the process, then close 3 browser windows. Not the smoothest operation. Without a universal shopping cart feature (which I’m not at all recommending tackle), things get ugly pretty quickly.

At the end of the day, I think consumers will welcome Smarter’s Visual Search tool. It’s how people shop for clothing. Eventually, Smarter’s tool should extend to shoes, hats, handbags, and other accessories.

As for merchants in the Clothing & Accessories category, I think the tool will drive more clicks. And conversion? I’m not sure what happens. Part of me thinks that conversion goes up because searchers will better understand what the potential ensemble looks like and therefore be more apt to buy…however this feature could also just lead to more browsing and less buying.

Would love to hear from some clothing retailers on this one…

Related Posts:
Become Adds Search By Color – October 19, 2006
A Different Way To Shop – September 8, 2006
Riya (launching soon) – September 7, 2006
Kaboodle Collage – August 29, 2006
ShopWiki Shop By Color – June 14, 2006

8 Responses to Smarter Launches Visual Search Beta

  1. […] easier to demonstrate. Image courtesy of Comparion Engines, where you’ll also find a more detailed review. […]

  2. heavymetalmouth says:

    I do not see the value in this feature. Who shops for clothes based only on color? Only three options presented at a time? Smarter needs to go back to the drawing board on this one.

  3. Brian Smith says:

    as for the color comment…i don’t think they have to go back to the drawing board. they just need to build on top of this. adding the size chart to this feature is a logical next step.

  4. […] shirt and shorts might look like together. More information (with colorful screenshots) on ComparisonEngines or try out Visual Search now. Posted by Brian […]

  5. Thinkbasic says:

    I agree with Heavymetalmouth

    “I do not see the value in this feature. Who shops for clothes based only on color?”

    I never buy clothes based only on the color.

  6. […] Posts: ShopWiki – Shop By Color – June 14, 2006 Become Adds Search By Color – October 19, 2006 Smarter Launches Visual Search Beta – October 31, 2006 If you liked that post, then try these…NexTag – Making Money the Old Fashioned […]

  7. it’s a very nice feature but as a clothing merchant, i am curious how this will help increase sales. We sell Halloween costumes and our customers already have a good sense of what they are looking for. Besides, costumes usually come in a set so it will be hard to sell on bundling concept.

  8. iKandy says:

    After 5 years, one would think this will be on every clothing sites as this is a must have. I guess we are slow in adopting such a change as my as buying behavior has changed dramaticly

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