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Farfetch latest luxury retailer to launch on-the-go visual search

December 10, 2018

Farfetch continues to innovate luxury ecommerce. Image credit: Farfetch


Online luxury platform Farfetch has introduced a new visual search tool, the latest move by a luxury marketer to capture the attention of younger, more visually driven affluents.

Called "See It, Snap It, Shop It," the new feature has been integrated into the retailer’s mobile application. Mobile and in-app shopping continues to gain traction among luxury consumers, motivating digitally savvy brands to find new ways to innovate mobile shopping experiences.

"Visual search is valuable for Farfetch as well as other luxury brands in order to synthesize inspiration and product discovery," said Dalia Strum, educator at The Fashion Institute of Technology, New York. "It decreases friction points between street style images as well as potential purchases due to the AI technology implementation."

In-app shopping
Farfetch’s new tool enables shoppers to upload images to identify similar products available to purchase.

Users can take their own images or upload images they have saved from Instagram, Pinterest or other sources as inspiration. Once an image is analyzed, shoppers can tap the items and find similar options from Farfetch.

Farfetch Visual Search

Farfetch's new visual search allows users to upload phots and shop similar products.

The discovery system uses details such as an item’s color, fit and fabric to find similar items, if the exact item is not available on the platform.

From there, consumers can filter items by brand, price and other categories.

"This tool is unique because it guides inspiration down the marketing funnel slightly faster to increase potential conversions," Ms. Strum said. "Visual search provides stronger touch-points towards personalizing the customer experience since consumers are providing a valuable sense of their aesthetic.

"The accuracy element of visual search is the most important, if the search results are exact or similar to the image submitted, consumer advocacy and loyalty will increase as opposed to consumers feeling like products are just being pushed their way without purpose," she said.

Mobile shopping transactions are surging as consumers continue to reach for their smartphones instead of desktops when browsing online. According to Criteo, digital-only brands outpace their traditional bricks-and-mortar counterparts in terms of app sales, 31 percent to 21 percent (see story).

The Farfetch app already allows shoppers to create wishlists and shop items that are delivered in 90 minutes in select cities.

Farfetch's edge over rivals is its wide global footprint for product delivery and also the fact that it does not carry inventory. Image credit: Farfetch

Mobile shopping is becoming more valuable than desktop shopping. Image credit: Farfetch

Shopping apps also give retailers more control over their brand as opposed to platforms like Instagram, which continues to push into the ecommerce space.

Instagram recently rolled out Shopping on Stories to a wider array of brands as well as testing out a Shopping feature on its Explore hub. These launches come as the brand is said to be working on a standalone shopping app (see story).

"Visual search is aligned with the way consumers discover new products today," said Arnaud Roy, chief strategy officer at Launchmetrics, New York.

"Customers no longer want to browse a product catalog on an ecommerce website; they get inspired by the lives of their peers and influencers," he said. "The ability to go from inspiration to purchasing directly with a click is echoing these new shopping behaviors."

Luxury online
Visual search is increasingly becoming a priority among luxury apparel and accessories companies.

Among the newer additions to Louis Vuitton’s mobile app is visual search, which enables consumers to snap a handbag or garment that catches their eye in a magazine or on a passerby to find it in the brand’s catalog. Mobile has become an important channel for reaching luxury consumers, enabling brands to engage with their clients anywhere they are.

Debuting with this app update is the LV Finder tool. Through this, a consumer can take a picture of a product to have it identified by the app (see story).

In a keynote at The New York Times International Luxury Conference on Nov. 13, the founder of Farfetch noted that as consumers are tending to move away from ownership of big-budget items such as cars and homes, they are left with more disposable income for luxury fashion apparel. Shoppers are also growing more accustomed to a multi-brand way of retail, offering another opportunity for the online platform.

Fashion labels including Burberry, Chanel and Gucci have enlisted Farfetch and its technology to better reach younger, more digitally oriented shoppers (see story).

"The truth is, to be successful moving forward, all brands must embrace the concept of visual search," Launchmetric's Mr. Roy said. "Customers worldwide are inspired by images and we must be able to engage with them in a visual way."