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Shoes.com unboxes visual search for snap-to-shop instant gratification

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August 14, 2015

Shoes.com is bringing commerce to mobile from real-life inspiration

Shoes.com is bringing commerce to mobile from real-life inspiration

Shoes.com is partnering with visual search company Slyce to allow mobile site visitors to take a photo of any footwear on the street or in print ads to shop closely matching products from its inventory, highlighting the cachet of snap-to-shop functions.

The online footwear retailer, which includes subsidiary brands Shoeme.ca and OnlineShoes.com, is driving instant gratification purchases on mobile by enabling shoe enthusiasts to look for real-life inspiration and shop similar items with the tap of a finger. This type of next-generation shopping is becoming increasingly more commonplace for online retailers seeking to bolster their audience outreach and fuel impulse buys.

“Visual search technology is about giving customers a convenient and engaging means of discovering great new shoes based on what inspires them online and in the streets,” said Roger Hardy, co-founder and CEO of Shoes.com, Vancouver, Canada. “This technology is applying a real-life shopping experience to the world of online shopping which hasn’t been done in the standalone footwear category until now.”

Driving awareness
More Canadian consumers will likely gain awareness of Shoes.com’s extensive inventory, thanks to the introduction of the snap-to-purchase feature.

The online retailer’s decision to adopt the tool gives it a leg up on other popular footwear marketers, as individuals who spot their ideal shoe on the street or in a magazine may not be able to find their preferred brand’s similar styles as seamlessly.

With the Slyce integration, Shoes.com visitors can easily snap a photo of a shoe and find similar products on its mobile site. No application download is necessary, another aspect that may resonate positively with customers.

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Footwear trendsetters may find their shoes snapped by impressed street-goers

Therefore, fashion fans can take inspiration from the world around them, from friends’ outfits to print advertisements. After a user scans a desired shoe style, he or she will be presented with all exact or closely-matching items.

These products may then be purchased with several taps.

“The introduction of this visual search platform on Shoes.com will bring a more real-world shopping experience to the world of online shopping,” Mr. Hardy said. “Whether customers are inspired by a pair of shoes while browsing Instagram or out for lunch with a friend, this platform will allow them to be taken from inspiration to gratification within a matter of seconds.

“These types of next-generation shopping experiences will bring more customers to Shoes.com, increasing online penetration within the footwear category overall.”

Innovative shopping
Shoes.com is not the only retailer to leverage Slyce’s visual search on mobile for enhanced shopping experiences.

Last week, Toys R Us tapped Slyce to enable consumers to take a picture of a receipt, catalog or newspaper coupon and generate a mobile-optimized version to store in the retailer’s application, driving cross-screen marketing and retargeting opportunities (see story).

However, Shoes.com claims it is the first in its sector to offer this functionality. Additional products are being considered for future snap-to-purchase tools.

As more brands permeate the mobile space with these types of shopping experiences, customers will become more accustomed to having the ability to snap photos of objects while out-and-about and receive purchasing options instantly.

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Users do not have to download a mobile app to use the new feature

Retailers with massive inventories would be wise to hop on the snap-to-purchase bandwagon, as they have the necessary amount of products to offer consumers exact or similar results to what they are searching for.

Last September, Macy’s fired back at Amazon with its own image recognition mobile app designed to simplify searching for items on its ecommerce site by submitting a photo of an item from daily life (see story).

“Visual search technology is growing at an incredible pace and its simplicity is well-suited towards a mobile environment where anything that reduces friction is a plus,” Mr. Hardy said.

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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Alex Samuely is staff writer on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York. Reach her at alex@mobilemarketer.com.

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