The Rise of Visual Shopping in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

E-commerce has taken over the world of retail. Those who were first to the scene are now considered titans of the information age. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Alibaba’s Jack Ma, for example, have reached a mythical business guru status like Henry Ford.
But online shopping has become old news. Honestly, it has become so mundane that you’d see delivery men with huge merchandise-filled backpacks every few blocks.
This internet shopping boom is ripe for a wave of innovation. Various online shopping companies such as Shopify have been sprouting left and right. Each one with their own twist on a platform that’s now become the norm. The next Amazon and Alibaba, it seems, is hinged on who’s the first to the scene of innovation in the online shopping experience.

Rise of Artificial Intelligence in Online Shopping

Some of the innovations are still bit gimmicky. Augmented reality shopping, for example, is a great idea. There are a ton of people who have trouble when shopping for furniture. Sometimes, it could be difficult to visualize how much room a certain piece would take up. Space, it seems, is something that we’re not very good at approximating. AR shopping, in this scenario, solves a problem and simplifies a solution.
But this use-case is niche-specific. Aside from the inaccessibility of AR-capable hardware, there are a lot of other factors that limit its penetration.
When it comes to market penetration and ease of use, artificial intelligence is king in retail innovation. It has the potential to take over a larger chunk of the market than any innovation that has come since online shopping.
It’s basically already on any hardware connected to the internet. This means even your IoT devices such your refrigerators can have it on-board. Some of them can even order provisions that you’re running low on.
Are you low on fresh milk?
Your IoT-equipped refrigerator can order it online for you automatically.
You don’t even have to actively use AI. to reap its benefits. It’s often just a set-and-forget type of deal. Google Assistant, for example, can help you find the best restaurant in your area and book you a table all with just a simple voice command. Even the linguistic enhancements that Google put in place makes it seem like you’re just talking to another human being.
In some cases, AI can even predict what you want before you even know you want them. This is the case with Netflix, Spotify, and other streaming applications. These subscription services use the data that they already have on you to help you choose which shows you’d likely want to watch next.
Bill Gates once stated on a 2001 interview that: “The advance of technology is based on making it fit in so that you don't really even notice it, so it's part of everyday life.” If we judge artificial intelligence in shopping in this light, then A.I. is a huge boon to the industry.

Visual Shopping

Humans are visual creatures. “We eat with our eyes,” the famous expression goes. This fact is understood by marketers and advertisers all too well. Those luscious, melt in your mouth burgers in commercials, for example, show how easily we all get lured by good visuals. Just a few seconds of watching it the fat dribble down the patty can trigger a very real hunger response to nothing but images on screen.
Instagram is huge proponent of visual marketing. This makes it one of the most sought-after platforms for brands.
But there are smaller sites that are worth looking into. Scooget is a great example. It’s a social media platform much like Facebook and Instagram with a focus on technology. In it, users form a community of tech-heads and enthusiasts who share ideas on their favorite tech.
Have a banging desktop setup that you’d like to show off?
You can post the photo on the site and let others know how and where to buy it through links on the images. This way, the community can more accurately search for the products that they want. No need to type keywords in a search box. It, much like AI, is a seamless integration of new technology to make the experience better for the user.

AI-Powered Visual Shopping

It was only a matter of time before enterprising companies put the two concepts together to form a potent sales machine. Lens from Pinterest is perhaps one of the most popular examples of this union.
One aspect of AI that’s rapidly improving right now is in image recognition. This is perhaps the most useful tool for Lens. It lets users find a product by simply snapping a photo of it. AI would then recognize what the product is, find it on the internet, and then show relevant information.
It’s a subtle technological advancement but it’s having big effects on the search behavior for countless individuals. This can potentially put SEO tactics on its head because keywords might become a thing of the past. Current marketing strategies, therefore, have to change.
Right now, AI-powered visual shopping is having its moment in the fashion industry. If, for example, you like a certain piece of clothing on a friend, all you must do is snap a photo of it and let AI do its magic. But it’s slowly rolling out in other industries too.
It’s only a matter of time for this combination to hit the shelves for the technology industry too. The Scooget community already has their foot in the door of this. All they must do now is fully embrace it.