As reported in The Verge, the social media image sharing and curation site Pinterest just launched a new visual search tool called Lens which is basically an app for identifying items in photographs in much the same way that the Shazam app matches music clips to identify their source songs.
The retail potential for this utility boggles the mind.
If you see someone wearing shoes you like, (or the shoes you see featured in a friend’s Facebook feed or television program, etc.) you can simply snap a photo of it and use the app to identify visual sources where those same shoes also occur (which could be your store!) My bet would be that search results (at least in the beginning) will favor Pinterest boards, so now might be the time to update (or launch!) your store’s Pinterest account and create image boards featuring the products you carry on your shelves.
If you use print catalogs and sales flyers, you’ll also want to consider creating online digital versions which feature the product images. Use the images on your website, in your other social accounts, etc. Anywhere you can post product images, do it. You’re going to want to make certain that when someone uses Lens to identify a product (likely so they can buy it) that your store has the best chance of displaying in the results as a source.
It looks like Lens is based on the image search technology Pinterest first shared back in 2015.
It’s not only important to share and promote the products you carry, you also need to know that you have these items in-stock and on-hand so that the people who find them are able to purchase them.
A search feature from Google’s which allows users to search for products within the current inventory of local stores was incorporated into Google Maps last August, meaning it’s more important than ever to consider real-time tracking of your store’s merchandise, but how can you track inventory at the shelf level, in real-time, without stationing an employee and a calculator in every aisle?
Fortunately for you, Midwest Retail Services has a really smart answer to that question over at www.ShelfTrax.com.