Need to understand what is visual search? Finding ways to get your products and services into the hands of your ideal customer is one of your most important tasks as a small business owner. Thankfully, due to the advent of the internet and all the technology that goes with it, you can literally sit at home and use the right techniques to draw your ideal customer right to you so that you can make a sale. One of the ways that you can do this is with good search engine optimization and content marketing.
As a small business owner, keeping up to date on emerging technologies is especially important when it comes to marketing. As fast as technology is invented, things change. One day one thing is in, and the next it’s out. One day a tactic works, and the next day it doesn’t. That’s okay, because there is always emerging technology to appear and take over.
One such emerging marketing technology involves visual search. Visual search enables customers to use visuals, like photos and images, to search for information instead of typing in the words. For example, if they saw a beautiful sofa at the furniture store, instead of buying it they can snap a picture, then upload it to Google Image Search or another option. As a result, they’ll be instantaneously delivered their options for purchasing that item or one like it from someone else, or they’ll determine that this is the only one, or the best price, and go ahead and make their purchase. This is one of the key ways the Amazon app works for shoppers to try to get more buyers. Take a picture of an item in the store with the app and it looks through Amazon to find matching items.
As you can see, it gives users a lot of options. In fact, each month there are more than 500 million visual searches just on Pinterest. What’s more, studies show that image-based Pinterest ads enjoy an 8.5% conversion rate, and this is expected to continue to grow.
According to Social Media Today, the trend toward visual search is growing and will become a 30-billion-dollar market by 2021, and more business owners will be supporting and optimizing for visual search now. If you plan to be found, no matter what type of products you have, you need to start optimizing for visual search now and thinking about how you can adapt your business to the new way of doing things.
What Is Visual Search?
Essentially, visual search involves taking images like photographs, screenshots, and other images and uploading them to the visual search engine to allow the artificial intelligence to connect and understand the images based on the content and context, while returning a list of results.
The reason this is becoming so popular is that it’s just natural. Humans tend to be very visual thinkers and are very good at identifying images. Now that the technology can produce results this way, it’s naturally going to take over search marketing and become very important for all businesses online and offline to incorporate visual search into their marketing strategy.
Examples of How Companies and People are Using Visual Search Right Now
Right now, the companies using visual search are more likely to be product-centered. This means that they have a physical product. However, that will change as visual search becomes more commonplace and more understood by the market. These examples offer many ideas that you can execute in your own business to take advantage of visual search. This is very exciting because as a product owner, you can take advantage of this trend right away.
Discover the Breed of a Dog or the Brand of a Shirt
You can take a picture of a lost doggie and put the image on Google Lens, and guess what – the system can identify the potential breed of the dog. This can work for a lot of other things too. What if you wanted to know the brand name of the shirt that the lady you met at Whole Foods had on? You can snap a picture, upload it, and if a smart business has done their due diligence with optimization for visual search, you’ll find that shirt. This can be a great way to discover new things for your customers and a great way to get new customers.
Find What You’re Browsing on Snapchat Using Visual Search
A user can press an object or use Snapchat’s camera to generate a thumbnail of what they’re looking at. Then the system will automatically find the product on Amazon or the site it’s being sold on, assuming the business owner has optimized for visual search and included the right file names, alt-tags, and other information on all their product images. You can use Snapchat to market using social media and then encourage your customers to discover where to locate the product to buy. This works great especially if you have brick and mortar stores who have online stores.
Use Amazon’s Camera to Locate All Your Desires
Amazon has its own image search tool on the app. This tool enables users to tap the camera icon on the app, and then search for the item in the image on Amazon. This will give you instructions on how to find the item you are looking for and more. It means that it’s more important than ever to add alt text image information to your pictures on Amazon as well as keywords or tags that are relevant.
Shopping in Person And Using Visual Search
Some stores are letting shoppers work with visual search options while shopping in person or online. You can go through the images and answer questions to choose your style. Then the app will visually show you what items are for sale that you like based on your answers and choices. You can also scan items in the store to find things that may go with it.
Find What You Desire on eBay
eBay is using visual search by letting you (if you use their mobile app) snap pictures from online, social media, or from your own camera; then you just drag and drop that image to the search bar, and it’ll show you what else there is that you may want. This program allows shoppers to find what they want quickly and easily. It’s so important to have great pictures of your product for customers but now also for the search engines using visual search.
Recommend More Products
Visual search can also help you recommend more similar products to your customers. For example, if they purchased one product from you, your system would note it, and then start sending the customer pictures and links to more products that are like that one. This suggestive selling can really help improve the lifetime value of a customer by getting them to make incremental purchases.
As you think through these examples, you are probably coming up with a lot of ideas of your own about how you can optimize your websites and products for visual search. There are quite a few things you can do to get in on the visual search game, even if your products are digital. Below are many of the benefits of visuals search that you should consider before starting to incorporate it.
Benefits of Visual Search
Just like most additional ways for people to find you, visual search is very beneficial for small businesses to take into consideration as they develop and implement their content marketing strategy. In most cases, small business owners and sole proprietors will enjoy improved ranking on search engines if they include visual search in their marketing plan.
Visual search is the ultimate window-shopping experience. Getting to upload an image of your perfect sofa and finding exactly where you can buy it and at what price before you even get started is very empowering to shoppers. This is one more way to reach customers and help with your search engine optimization.
Visual Search Helps Spot Trends
You can use this for yourself, even if you don’t sell physical products. For example, if you start seeing any item all over the net, you can screenshot it and upload it to a site that is visual search enabled like Google Images, Or if you want to buy it on Amazon, then do a search and find out more information about why it’s popular and trending. It also will allow you to find out where the hot items are selling and work backward to possibly create new private label products.
Gets More Leads
The fact is, anytime you can improve your search engine optimization techniques, you’re going to get way more leads and build your list much bigger and with more targeted individuals. When someone searches for the product and you are found, you are one step closer to making that sale. So taking the time to optimize for visual / photo search can be a great source of traffic for your website.
When people can find your products and services, it will naturally boost sales. More targeted traffic delivered to your landing pages always means more sales. This is just another way to ensure that it happens in an organic way.
Improves Brand Awareness
When you are focused on brand awareness with visual search, you’ll upload more branded images to your site, to social sites, and more. The more images you have out there that are optimized for visual search, the more people will become aware (and stay aware) of your brand. You can have your image watermarked to make sure that people know where it came from and find your site easier.
Helps Increase Physical Shopping Access
If you have a physical store and an online store, you can use visual search interchangeably, thus encouraging local users to come to your physical store more often. For example, if you know they’re going to snap pics and look for your items elsewhere, you can ensure you have more control over the search terms so that you dominate the market. This is great for when you have something that is popular, if you can optimize the visual search, you are going to get more traffic. And then the buyers who come to your store find you as the source so they go ahead and buy.
Connects Offline Shopping with Online Sales
This one feature makes visual search exciting. The way this works is that a customer can find your item on a shelf, take a picture of it, then conduct a search online for the item to find the best price, and finally have it delivered instead of having to buy it physically right that moment.
Provides a Richer User Experience
The more you can focus your website and online platforms to a fabulous user experience, the more you’ll develop trust with your audience. Seeing more images that help guide choices makes the user feel more connected to the items. And even more sales when you optimize for visual search.
Helps Upselling Efforts
When you focus more on the visuals of your products and services, it will help you sell more to your audience after they’re customers. They know how to find the information on your site more easily due to the additional SEO you’ve incorporated around visual search.
Helps Users Find Out of Stock Items Using the Image
One thing that shoppers really enjoy with visual search is being able to take a stock image and upload it to one of the search sites like Google Lens and then find other instances of the item for sale online. This can be a great benefit to you if you work to optimize your photos and make sure they are SEO ready.
Assists with Spotting Trends
Once your customer uploads and searches using their visuals and images, the technology can use that image to search more and recommend products based on what the customer already owns. For example, if the customer uploads images of their wardrobe, the system can then recommend items that will match what they have based on the trends and other criteria.
At its core, getting ready for visual search has more to do with good search engine optimization practices – like choosing the right ‘alt’ text, image titles, file names, and captions to help boost SEO.
Incorporating visual search marketing to your website will make it easier for your audience to find your products and services if you’ve set it up and are prepared. Tomorrow we will look at the ways you can optimize your SEO for visual search.
We have a 7-day email training that will walk you through the steps to improve your visual search marketing on your website so you can make more sales. Go to www.wildcatbrandmanagement.com/visualsearch to sign up.
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