Retail Innovation Visual AI Blog 5 Ways Visual Search is Revolutionizing Black Friday Sales Ofer Fryman November 21, 2019 6 Min Read In just a few days, one of the most anticipated shopping events around the world is happening. Made popular by huge price drops and crazy long lines, a McKinsey & Co.’s annual survey verified that steep discounts and unique one-off promotions are the main motivations of consumers in joining Black Friday. This year, it is slated on November 29th. With seven days left, how are retailers preparing for Black Friday? Before delving into specific examples from top-notch retailers worldwide, it is essential to look at shoppers and their expectations from this upcoming spending season. This allows for planning better Black Friday campaigns that drive results—if you haven’t done so yet. Prefers convenience over anything. Consumers are shying away from shopping at brick-and-mortar stores on Black Friday. Instead, more people are choosing the convenience of online shopping. Last year, 37% of Black Friday sales came from mobile devices, according to TechCrunch. However, retailers must not dismiss the fact that shoppers also browse in-store to supplement retailer websites, search engines, catalogs, and social media. Exhibits strong buying intent. Because of its recurring nature, consumers have already set aside budgets for Black Friday. Consumer Technology Association, as cited by Barron’s, actually consider the whole month of November a major shopping spree, with 57% of shoppers having the highest purchase intent for days after Cyber Monday. Shows susceptibility to spontaneous purchases. Quick access to Black Friday deals online allows shoppers to compare prices, search for deals, and buy products much faster and with ease. Well-informed ready-to-buy consumers are more likely open to purchasing the best-priced products even from retailers they haven’t bought from before—as long as the deal is right. Sound like your customers? Recently mentioned on Forbes as one of five technology features driving sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, visual search is a powerful end-to-end solution that supports shoppers throughout their Black Friday hunt for bargains. Visual search is a versatile retail digital solution that taps into consumers’ inherent reliance on visual over textual information. From scrolling through social media images to reading brands’ photo-heavy content, visual search makes it easier and simpler for your shoppers to find the products they encounter anywhere, anytime—with just a photo. As the global interest in Black Friday rises, averaging 117% growth in the last five years per Hult International Business, retailers are now leveraging the power of visual search to smoothen the consumers’ buying journey. Whichever way consumers choose to shop, here are five examples of retailers leading the way with visual search. 1. Making content shoppable Shoppers can be anywhere on your website or mobile app on Black Friday. Now is the time to make sure your content is shoppable and updated. Don’t let dead links put a bump on your customers’ shopping journeys. Next, a British multinational retailer, makes sure their product content is not wasted. Shoppers can easily click on the photo and are instantly directed to the appropriate product page. This is made possible by automatic, deep tagging which tags any product image with pieces available on stock. Moreover, the same technology powers image search, auto-suggest, spelling correction, and natural language processing capabilities. This ensures that your customers get to the exact product they’re looking for—whichever way they choose to search for it. 2. Keeping consumers active and engaged Some shoppers have their eyes set on particular items on Black Friday. But consumers never really plan the exact products they’re going to buy. So, intelligent recommendation engines give you the opportunity to capture shoppers’ attention and introduce relevant products. Kohl’s, one of America’s largest department store retail chains, ensures their customers are hooked. Using visual search-enabled shop similar feature, they’re able to show not only related products but also products that other people viewed and bought, increasing a sense of affinity. The retail chain also helps shoppers keep track of previous products viewed. 3. Surfacing accurate visual search results without difficulty Gone are the days when people have to think really hard (and fail) to search for the right product keyword. With visual search, Black Friday shoppers enjoy the convenience of instantly finding and discovering visually similar products to the ones they’re interested in. For instance, rarely do people have sufficient vocabulary to describe the shapes and styles of prescription glasses and sunglasses, prompting GlassesUSA to add a visual search feature on their website. On Black Friday, this makes a difference—enabling your customers to find more, shop more, and buy more. 4. Leveraging social media and community to power visual search As more shoppers rely on social media for ideas on the latest in fashion, incorporating user-generated content adds another layer of familiarity and relatability. On Black Friday, this expedites purchase decision-making, even encouraging spontaneous purchases. Like Musinsa, a South Korean online retailer, you can seamlessly match catalog products with real-world images. Visual search also automatically detects all shoppable products in an image, delivering to your shoppers highly relevant products. 5. Enhancing the in-store experience While it is true that online shopping is popular nowadays, brick-and-mortar stores play an equally important role on Black Friday. In fact, a lot of consumers prefer to shop in-store for electronics and appliances, raising the need for a consistent online and offline experience. Black Friday shopping on Argos, a British catalog retailer, is made simple because their product pages are packed with details. They even put a side-by-side comparison between similar items, as well as related product recommendations. With visual search, you can bring the same feature in-store. With in-store tablets, retailers can improve online and offline product discovery, recommend style tips, and even support store associates with near real-time inventory status that is crucial during Black Friday. Visual search is an end-to-end solution that improves the buying journeys of consumers and helps retailers boost revenue. All of the retailers above are powered by Syte’s groundbreaking visual AI solutions. Learn more here. Without a doubt, if visual search is a fit for your shoppers, then it might be worth giving a shot. Black Friday is extreme enough as it is. With visual search, you’re providing your customers with a more convenient, engaging, and efficient shopping experience.