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  • Mai Huong Nguyen

How visual search optimizes product discovery for furniture e-commerce

Updated: Dec 7, 2020

Online shopping has become a preferred option for buying home furniture products. However, it is still an arduous and time-consuming experience. Customers normally have trouble finding the right terms for the furniture products so as to perform keyword search. In fact, they have to try many keywords or go through pages of categories to come up with what they wanted to find. Sometimes they get frustrated and stop buying anything at all, which is the worst scenario for retailers. AI visual search for online store is developed to overcome this hurdle.

1. What is visual search?

Visual search is as simple as it is called. Instead of searching by text, buyers can now search for products using images. Customers can snap a chair they see at their friend's house and get a search result on a retail website to buy it online. Or they can also shop with inspiration from any sources or social media. For example, if they see a stunning couch in a living room photo on Pinterest, they can use it to search in a home décor site for similar products.


Product search is not limited to typing words into search box and no more reliant on one’s own vocabulary. With this new technology, buyers can get to the right search result faster and easier.


2. A closer look into customer journey prior to visual search

Moving from brick-and-mortar furniture stores to online stores has been a big step. However, we need to admit that there is still a big gap in the customer journey, from paying attention to a specific home furniture product to buying it. It lies in the time and effort customers spending on searching for products in the online database.


Let’s imagine a customer's journey explained in customer's language.


John is browsing Instagram when he sees a photo of a living room. He immediately likes a very comfortable couch that can turn into a bed. He likes its black color too.

He then goes to his favorite furniture shopping platform and types “black bed couch”. He receives pages of results and scrolls through them desperately, and yet can’t find that exact couch he wanted. He may try again with "black couch transform", "black foldable bed", etc.

The actual name of the couch is "Futon Sofa Bed, Modern Faux Leather Convertible Folding Lounge Couch for Living Room with 2 Cup Holders Removable Soft Armrest and Sturdy Metal Legs, Black". This product title, however descriptive, is not what John typed.


It’s a demonstration of how difficult it is to put the couch into words so that it is discoverable by customers. Actually it is not only a problem to customers, but also to web retailers. They need a lot of man power for doing SEO, i.e. describing products in words so that they are discoverable in search.


3. Customer journey with visual search

Now what John can do instead is to go to an online furniture store with visual search option.

He can simply upload the image of the couch and get the result within seconds. After carefully checking, he can feel at ease to sit at home, order that couch and get it delivered to his door.


What if John is a cautious person that prefers to pay a visit to the showroom to carefully observe, touch and feel the material of the couch, but still wants the choices and benefits of online purchase? AI visual search allows him to snap the couch on the spot and get a search result on your website. At that point, you are very close to converting a purchase from buyer.


Visual search makes the buyer experience much more intuitive and seamless. No more battle ground for buyers, no more confusion and frustration. This new way of search and navigation makes things simpler yet more effective, bridging the gap between finding products and purchasing products.


4. Real-life impact for retailer

Wayfair, Joss & Main, Architonic and Yestersen are a a few retailer names that have given their customers the power of visual search. Let’s take an in-depth study in Yestersen's case.

Yestersen, established in 2015, is a home goods online seller with over 25,000 items covering a wide range of furniture styles from vintage goods to modern ones. The various and huge number of items is their big selling point, but as the inventory keeps growing, Yestersen needs to seek for a smarter and more efficient solution to help customers find the most suitable product for their taste.


After implementing Visual Search, Yestersen has found the answer to their biggest concerns. Customers could search more easily with photos. If they ever encounter a piece of furniture which is out of stock, they will be automatically suggested with similar alternatives.

Yestersen achieved the amazing results of an 186% increase in the conversion rate, which contributed to 47.46% of online revenue.


To customers, visual search means easier product search and more satisfying shopping experience. To retailers, the technology delivers higher conversion rate and very likely, more returning customers and an easier way to do SEO.


If you are interested in achieving the same result, contact us for expert support on visual search for your online store.

More on our implementation insights:

4 questions to answer before implementing


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