Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

Argos launches visual search to connect catalogue and online channels

Published: 12 March 2019 - Fiona Garcia
 

The general merchandise retailer has introduced a new AI-enabled visual search service in the Argos IoS app, which allows customers to shop for homewares and furniture using images on their smart phone. 

Users simply take a photograph or upload a saved image of their desired item to the app which instantly searches the entire Argos online catalogue for similar furniture, curtains or homewares. The technology is able to do this by recognising distinctive features, such as the shape, colour and style of items in the image. 

The launch, says Argos, is part of its mission to offer customers "an engaging, technology-led mobile shopping experience", helping customers to select from the thousands of homewares and furniture lines available in its online catalogue.

Visual search works alongside Argos’s existing augmented reality technology, which lets customers digitally place products such as sofas and TVs into their own homes using the IoS app to assess the look, size and fit before buying. Argos’ aim is to extend the visual search functionality to customers using the retailer’s iconic paper catalogue in the future, where the app could surface products to complement items customers find on catalogue pages. It follows the launch of Argos Voice Shop, where voice technology enabled customers to reserve Argos items for click and collect.

Argos is the latest omni-channel retailer to introduce the technology to join up its online and physical worlds, and help customers find what they want more easily. In 2016 US home improvement giant The Home Depot added visual search to its mobile app by adding a camera icon to the search bar, and just this year, home and fashion chain Marks & Spencer launched its M&S Style Finder photo search feature on its mobile website. The technology is already widely used by pureplay traders, including Asos, Ebay and Amazon.

Argos digital director Mark Steel said: “Customers are increasingly using social media platforms, such as Instagram and Pinterest, as a source of inspiration so visual search has the potential to transform how we shop for the home.  By creating it in our app, we’re intentionally putting this exciting new technology directly into the hands and pockets of our customers who are using mobile devices to shop more than ever.

“Customers seeking a product or even an entire room set they’ve discovered online, or seen in a friend’s home, can now browse our vast range of homewares and furniture to find great value similar items in an instant, simply using a picture. 

“The future potential for visual search is really exciting as it has the ability to break down language barriers and offer those with disabilities an easy way to find what they need online.   We’re also exploring how we can use it to help bridge the gap between our physical catalogue and digital channels, offering customers a truly integrated way to shop.”

 

 

Comments


(Your email address will not be published)
Already Registered?
Sign In
Not Yet Registered?
Register
Printable View E-mail Bookmark
*

What do you think?


How important is the housewares category to your business?



Latest reader comments

re: Hardware store wins fight against music licence body

Will
I am treasurer or a sports and social club and have a £724 bill from PPLPRS. Part of the bill is for dance clases, but a lot of the cost is ...

re: The man who put the Q in B&Q visits latest store

B&Q bob
The old BQ that he built respected staff loyalty and rewarded those willing to learn extra to be able to advise customers. The new BQ cut ...

re: Builder wins Toolstation's prize draw pick-up

Rob Burns
First time in store Dudley. Steph helped me find what i was looking for, so now will be my first place to use....

re: Homeowners worry over-the-top smart security might attract burglars

AndyH
No Way,I call BS on that one. Burglars have always been detrerred by obvoius expensive alram systems, window marking and security lighting. ...

re: Kingfisher study reveals the home is more important to happiness than our jobs

B&Q bob
Ironic then that kingfisher has altered it's staffs Hours so we get to spend less time with our families in our homes than ever before. ...

Most read stories