nicolas leroy

TheFind is testing visual search

June 04, 2009

From TheFind blog:

Can you find shoes you love faster with images than with words? We’re testing out our new visual search site and want your feedback! As a thank you for completing the survey, we have included some great coupons from Bluefly, Shoebuy, and Naturals of Ashland. Here’s how it works:

1. Go go

2. Type in a shoe search or click on a hot search link

3. Some products will show buttons for “find similar” and “compare” upon mouseover. Click on one of these buttons

4. You should see products similar in shape and color

Search on “Teva Sandals” – A “Find similar” button appears above product image when rolling over a product. Simple integration on the existing results, doesn’t make the result page more complex, nice. However, easy to spot by users? Well, the design of the button has evolved since the screenshot below has been taken: enhanced contrast for enhanced visibility… Clicking on this button leads the user to a result page with visually similar products… (to be noticed: the  coverage of “find similar” buttons seems currently low, considering depth of TheFind offer).

Result page for similar products. Introduction of a left-hand side column to display the selected product. Then similar products are displayed like in a standard result page. The filtering options available on the right side in a standard result page disappear, which is a shame: I would test keeping the filters column and showing the selecting product with reduced size in this column…

TheFind similar products

Using compare prices… On some products, a “compare price” button is available leading to a very similar result page. Interesting to use visual search to build such comparison pages, a very different approach than SKU-based offers groupings; however, I suppose this means retailers must provide the same image coming from manufacturer for this feature to work correctly…

If I like the feature (the main difference between shopping search and price comparison destinations :) ), I find frustrating to see it on very few products… Like the “Find Similar” button, coverage seems low for the moment.

Overall, a very simple yet efficient approach to visual search (compared to how, the shopping destination that introduced visual search in ’06, has become)… Still an experiment, so we can expect changes before this feature is integrated on the main site.