Visual Discovery

Visual discovery is one of the most effective ways shoppers can find the products they are looking for on your site. It uses visual content such as product photos, themed galleries, image search, recommendation carousels, and user-generated clips to connect shoppers not only with the items that they have in mind but also with your brand in general.

This form of discovery is powered by visual AI, a technology that enables machines to identify, understand, and make decisions based on imagery and visual data.

Why It Matters

Effective visual discovery enables you to immediately connect and engage with your target market. It makes sure that you surface the right products at the right moment and that your customers can find items that fit their exact preferences at every stage of the shopping journey. This type of accessibility and convenience is essential to online shoppers. When they have a smooth, frictionless experience with your brand, they are more likely to complete a purchase, remember you, and return again in the future — which in turn increases your customer lifetime value.

A successful visual discovery strategy is especially helpful with the initial customer touchpoints. Establishing an excellent customer experience upfront can make shoppers stay on your site longer and make them feel that a brand or a retailer truly understands them and knows what they are looking for. Instead of going through generic search filters and categories, shoppers can browse your SKUs through imagery that is aligned with their aesthetic. This results in a positive impact on buying behavior and brand awareness.

A screenshot of an eCommerce site's image search feature that promotes visual discovery
City Furniture’s site allows visual discovery through image search.

How It Works

There are a number of ways to use visual discovery tools to return relevant results throughout the online shopping experience. Here are a few of the most effective options:

Visual Discovery Best Practices

Here are some recommended best practices that encourage visual product discovery:

  • Include inspirational galleries that show shoppable content right on your homepage.
  • Use product tags effectively so that individual items or collections are automatically updated with specific parameters that are relevant to shoppers.
  • Enable visual search so that customers can upload inspirational images or screenshots and find similar-looking items.
  • Encourage continuous browsing and increased exposure to your catalogue with recommendation carousels that are consistently updated based on customers’ previous interactions with your site and real-time shopping context.

For more tips and tricks, check out these articles:

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Build better jewelry discovery experiences.