The Future of Image and Voice Search in E-Commerce

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The Future of Image and Voice Search in E-Commerce December 4, 2019

We see what we like, and we buy it. This is what a typical shopper does. Reverse image search coupled with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and voice recognition has the potential of revolutionizing the way how consumers find and buy products. 

In a recent survey, 62 percent of millennials prefer image search over any other technology. Google, Amazon, eBay, Bing, and Pinterest have made significant advancements in visual search capabilities. 

‘The future of search will be about pictures rather than keywords,’ stated Ben Silbermann, CEO of Pinterest. And with success, Pinterest has had in recent times and its future growth predictions, it’s no surprise that image search will be a breakout trend in the future.

Image Search Statistics

The statistics listed here are an indicator of how internet search is moving towards image search.

  • Images are returned for 19% of search queries on Google.
  • The image recognition market is expected to grow to $45 billion by 2021.
  • By 2021, websites that redesign to support image and voice search will increase digital commerce revenue by 30%.
  • Pinterest has 600 visual searches per month, and its image-based ads have an 8.5 percent conversion rate. 

How Does Image Search Work?

The human brain is exceptionally visual – it takes 13 milliseconds to identify an image. An astounding 90 percent of all information received by the brain is visual.

Technology has to recognize this human factor and needs to be enhanced to work best at bringing AI in harmony with human capabilities. When you look at a picture, you don’t see dots, lines, and pixels. You see shapes, colors, and patterns. Machines need to be taught to do the same. 

Companies that are working on improving image search need to expand their image databases. The more images they have stored in their databanks, the more similarities they can draw up. They will come to a point where they will be able to identify an object in an image and match them to the closest retailer and provide customer reviews. 

How Online Sellers can Improve their Visibility

Online stores can kick start their image search visibility with a few simple steps.

Incorporate Image Search in their Inventory: 

92 percent of online stores do not offer image search on their websites. If a shopper is looking for a shirt, he has to key-in shirts before shirts are displayed. If a website store selling men’s clothes has built-in image search, it would be so much easier for the shopper to view the products and make a decision. 

If a shopper shops by just clicking on images without pressing any keys it will make shopping fun and easy. 

Focus on boosting image search visibility: 

Till now, SEO efforts have been focused on text content. With an increase in visual search, SEOs will have to shift their focus on meta title and meta descriptions as that will be the only text search engine crawlers will use. Visual search will pose new challenges for SEOs. 

Display clear images on websites: 

Images of the products or services that you are selling on your website will have to be displayed clearly and without any clutter. Optimize the size of the images, type, and choose the titles carefully. 

Voice Search

One of the biggest developments in technology in the past few years has been made on voice recognition and natural language processing. We are now seeing advancements in human/machine interaction. 

Pro tip is Google Voice

Smart voice calling on all your devices

Forward-looking business people are already investing in promoting image-based searches on their websites. However, voice is likely to be the way forward in requesting information on-demand in the future. The future is likely to see voice interacting with image search to make shopping an easy to use and exciting experience for online shoppers.

What’s in store for the future?

Comparing the image to a voice search is like comparing the keyboard to a mouse. They both serve their own purpose but interact to make life easier for the user.

Imagine you want to buy a casual shirt. You go on a website that sells shirts and clicks on the image of casual shirts. You see an array of images of a casual shirt – t-shirts, polo’s, half-sleeved, full-sleeved. You click on polo’s, and a collection is displayed. You like one and say ‘is it available in sky blue’ and you get a reply ‘Yes, it is…would you order it now,’ you reply yes, and it walks you through the checkout process. 

Buying any product or service on the internet will become totally hassle-free. No standing in queues, getting bumped around in stores, no searching for shopping carts. 

This is where image and voice search is leading us to, and it should happen very soon.