Image search shopping – what is it?


The latest eCommerce function introduced by several massive players allows to find products much faster and easier without typing any words. Soon you’ll forget the old fashion way of searching!

What is an image search shopping?

To summarise, image-based product search is a new trend worldwide in eCommerce. It is believed that this type of product search will make up to 50% out of all searches by 2020.

How does it work?

Currently, an automatization of image analysis is becoming a standard tool on mobile devices as users can take a picture and look for the same or similar products online. Sellers integrate this feature in their digital strategy more frequently to provide better user experience. This is a much simpler, faster and more convenient way to discover products customers really want. Once a user finds an item in the picture that would be interested in buying, taps on it and then it will open on a separate window with a list of search results to buy this item. It can be difficult to find a desired product on search engines due to mismatches, incorrect description or grammatical errors. Image-based search can eliminate these mismatches.


This type of product search is already being carried out by one of the eCommerce giants - eBay. It has a visual search feature on its mobile app allowing users to search for products using their camera or image upload. On the eBay app, in the corner next to search bar, a camera icon is displayed, when clicked it gives an option either to take an image or upload it. Then a list of search results is provided based on the image uploaded.

Pinterest is one of the favourite apps when it comes to the search of various ideas as it has a massive image/link database. It has turned a smart phone camera into a product search widget.  For example, you saw someone wearing a nice, comfortable coat and you thought that you would like to purchase a similar or even the same coat. Open Pinterest app, click on the camera icon next to the search bar, take a picture or upload an image you already have taken, and a list of results will pop up. You will not be able to purchase the product directly from the app, however various combinations, similar or same same items, as well as people’s reviews and websites to get the product will be provided. Search results can be saved into boards you have created, so you can easily find it at any time.

It seems that one image is worth a thousand words!

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