Image searching technology arrives at ASOS

The marketplace will allow jewellery and watch brands to offload excess stock.

Online retail giant ASOS has launched a visual search tool which allows consumers to find desired products by uploading photos.

Consumers have long being using images as a point of reference when it comes to buying new clothes and accessories, and now ASOS has launched a tool which allows shoppers to search its app by uploading a screenshot from social media, a picture of a friend or a photo taken in a magazine.

First consumers need to download the ASOS app, and then tap on the camera icon in the search bar to upload a photo. The image is then compared to the retailer’s archive of items before offering the shopper the exact product they’re looking for (if available on ASOS), or the nearest product to what the consumer wants, alongside similar styles. In total, the search engine will bring up 100 matching items.

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The online fashion giant has been quietly testing the technology since June, giving just 10 per cent of customers access to the tool, which flicks through the 85,000 products. Now it is only available on random selection, with plans to roll it out to all customers later this year.

The technology maps 1,500 key points from an image and gets better at identifying items over time.

David Atkins, Hammerson chief executive, told the Guardian: “Our own research shows that on an average shopping journey customers use a combination of offline and online shopping channels. Initiatives such as FindSimilar are designed to further blur the lines between the two.”

This comes as ASOS aims to solidify its mobile offering, revealing that it gains 80% of its traffic and nearly 70% of orders through smartphone use.

The retailers claims customers spend about 80 minutes per month, on average, using the app.

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