New shopping app Craves is creating a mobile-only boutique experience using visual search to locate goods.
Users can snap of photo of an apparel item or accessory and let the app search out the exact item or a similar product. There's no need to crop or input any additional imformation because the image recognition software recognizes 2D images from printed pages, billboards and the Web.
Once Craves returns visually similar results for an uploaded image, users can view additional details, save items, be notified of any price drops or purchase directly form the retailer.
There's also a social media element to the app that lets users follow friends and other users—or influencers—to see what they're "Craving."
"Individual style is an incredibly personal thing and trying to search for specific fashion you've seen using traditional text search is like trying to explain a song you like by drawing a picture," said Craves co-founder, Scott Cormier. "Visual search offers the most intuitive way for people to move from seeing something they might Crave—whether it be in a magazine, on a best friend's Instagram or worn by a stranger walking next to them on the street—to discovering that item and, if they choose, buying it there and then."
Craves is powered by Slyce, the company that provides visual search capabilities for retailers' own apps including JCPenney and Neiman Marcus.
But while Slyce is the embedded technology used by these retail partners, the app will include merchandise from a variety of retailers, including Yoox, Nasty Gal, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord and Taylor, Neiman Marcus, ASOS, Mango, Singer22, Luisaviaroma, Forzieri, Silver Jeans and Coach, according to TechCrunch.
Sylce recently purchased mobile couponing app SnipSnap, another visual recognition tool that lets users snap a photo and digitize a paper coupon. And there are plans to integrate mobile payments directly into the app.
Visual recognition is expected to add value to mobile apps. Macy's is a believer, putting mobile first and including visual search in its attempts to modernize the department store. Social media sites such as Pinterest and Instagram are busy trying to monetize the images saved and shared on the sites, rolling out buy buttons to make direct purchasing more seamless.
-See this Craves announcement
-See this TechCrunch story
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