Ebay joins in on Visual Discovery

Amazon, Google, Pinterest, Wayfair and more have all released some type of visual search and discovery tools in the past year. The premise is simple. Take or find a picture of a product, and the service will analyze it, and return relevant options that can then be bought or shared. Today, Ebay released two new tools that will allow users to interact in that way with their platform.

Going by the names Image Search and Find it on Ebay, both tools employ a form of artificial intelligence software that decrease the friction from discovery to purchase. Image Search allows users to take a photo of a product or use an existing photo, to then shop similar products on Ebay. Find it on Ebay allows users to share a picture to Ebay that they come across on any social platform or while casually browsing the web; subsequently, the mobile app will return similar product recommendations.

With a category of over a billion shop-able products, it’s a smart move for Ebay to take every step necessary to ensure that consumers can easily find what they’re looking for. While visual discovery is a relatively new trend, tools like the Google Lens which will increasingly be rolled out to more and more devices, will bring this type of functionality into the mainstream in the next year.

Implications

As users discover the simplicity that Visual Discovery brings to their shopping experience, they will come to expect that functionality to be integrated into all of their services. Search is quickly evolving from text based to a combination of voice and visual based access. Brands need to determine how best to employ these technologies, in order to keep their consumer base happy.

Additionally, these technologies are reducing the friction involved in comparison shopping while in a physical retail store. Now that a user can pull out their phone, take a picture, and receive complimentary options and details about said product, brand marketers will increasingly find it necessary to take that information into account when creating copy and online product info. It’s important to get out ahead of this trend, so as to be ready for entirely new forms of consumer interaction.

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