Picture of kitchen table marked up using visual AI
Most of our mobile addicted generation are likely to be using image recognition technology on a daily basis now. Photos stored on Google and Apple's cloud photo services are capable of tagging every object in the picture, recognising people and even recognising landmarks even if the photograph is not geo-tagged. When you start using the technology its quite breathtaking - locating photos from the thousands that you have taken over the years can now be done relatively quickly. The adoption of image recognition technology in retail has however been relatively slow - until now that is. The use cases for image recognition within retail customer experiences are similar. The focus also being around discovery and using the technology to find me items in the  catalogue that look like the item in the photo I've just taken or have sourced from somewhere else. As any retail e-commerce behaviour analytics team will tell you, a majority of shopper journeys are abandoned way before the customer clicks in to view the product detail. In areas like fashion and home - it is often down to luck that you are going to find the item you're looking for. The larger the catalogue - the harder it gets. If the customer is able to simply take a photo of that table and chairs she likes and see items that look the same or similar then the discovery is no longer down to luck.  Many retailers have experimented with visual search over the past 5 years to varying degrees of success. Because the technology hasn't always lived up to expectation, the consumer is still a little skeptical today..  This skeptical consumer may want to re-evaluate. If you are in the UK then try taking a picture of your kitchen table or sofa using visual search on the Argos app or the Conforma app if you are in France. Because a majority of customers still discover products through text search, smart visual AI can also be used to tag products with the right attributes far more accurately and quickly that the small army of people. This leads to not only cost savings but greater products discovery through text search too.  There is more excitement to come. Imagine how this technology delivered by companies like Syte is going to transform how we use social media..  

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