Technically speaking, there is nothing new about visual search technology. Visual Search Technology can trace its oldest, clunkiest forms back nearly a decade now. But next-gen product offerings in the area of visual search technology are to yesterday’s offerings what the steam engine was to the internal combustion engine: with new offerings poised to offer exponentially greater speed, power and capability.
Amazon was one of the early pioneers of product recognition and visual search, offering some form or variation of visual search apps as early as 2007 that were highly limited in the kinds of search returns they could offer. Last year, they released the Amazon Flow app, which allows consumers to use their phone’s camera to take a picture of an item and search for it on Amazon. But even the most recent versions of this technology still rely heavily on packaging and branding to find a match. That’s awesome if you’re standing in the store with the product in your hand and just want to do some price comparison, but it’s not so great if you’re trying to find an item someone else has already purchased and is using – meaning having no packing or branding to go by.
But there is a new product on the horizon which will put all previous offerings to shame. One of the leading companies in development of tomorrow’s technology is Slyce, a Toronto-based start-up that garnered more than $12 million in initial capital to get them up and running. Slyce is poised to revolutionize both how people shop as well as how companies gather information about their consumers. As it stands now, companies can easily figure out what people are eventually buying, but what they don’t know is what people are initially looking for and how they get from one to the other.
The question is, of course, are people buying certain products because they can’t find anything better, or are they actually finding what it is they really want. With Slyce, retailers will be able to gain an insight into not just what people buy (the end result) but can actually gain a greater understanding of the entire process that consumers go through to reach the final destination of purchasing an item or product. Before a consumer plopped down their money for one item, how many others did they look at, and where? Slyce may also have the capacity to give retailers an even greater treasure trove of information, which is about who their greatest influencers are. Where are people finding the initial products they end up looking for in the first place? Television advertising, print advertising, or other people walking down the street using or wearing their products and who are those people?
There is a new shopping revolution coming, and Slyce is poised to lead the way.