October 29, 2014
Neiman Marcus, the luxury fashion retailer, has just released its new app that incorporates image recognition shopping capabilities. The app was created in partnership with Slyce, the Canada-based startup that provides retailers with a visual recognition search platform. The retailer’s new app is available for download now on iOS for U.S. consumers.
“Today, most online shopping begins with search – either through key words or navigating filters, and as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words,” said Neiman Marcus Group CMO Wanda Gierhart in a statement. “Visual search removes hurdles, taking you directly from inspiration to gratification. In essence, Snap. Find. Shop. is a revolutionary way to service our customers at any time and any place.”
Through the new Neiman Marcus app, consumers no longer need to spend hours browsing online looking for a bag (or whatever else) they saw previously in a magazine or on someone walking down the street. Utilizing Slyce’s 3-D visual search capabilities, users simply need to snap an image of a fashion item and instantly be provided with items from Neiman Marcus’s website that most closely match what they’re looking for; the company is promoting the feature as “Snap. Find. Shop”. The feature can be used on both real-life items as well as items in print, with no additional adjustments needed (e.g. photo cropping, category definition, or search refinement). According to the company, the image recognition shopping capability currently only functions for shoes and bags, but with additional categories to be considered in the future.
Neiman Marcus isn’t the first major retailer, however, to take advantage of new smartphone capabilities in visual recognition. Last month, Macy’s Inc. debuted its own image search app at the Goldman Sachs Global Retailing Conference. Built in partnership with UK-based Cortexica, a company also competing in the visual search and image recognition space, the app functions in very similar ways to Neiman Marcus’s.
The integration of image search technology for these two major retailers is really no surprise when you consider the amount of time we spend with our smartphones – surely, in the next year, we’ll see a boost in the visual search industry as additional retailers try to compete for our attention. The numbers are surely telling – in June of this year, Slyce raised a whopping $12 million Series B round of funding for its image recognition shopping technology. It’s simply a matter of time before everyone else gets in the game.
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