Mobile has fundamentally changed the way we shop and discover through photos. Instagram users share an average 95 million photos and videos per day and like another 4.2 billion images. But linking this inspiration to commerce is a challenge. First, given an image it is hard to search for related products on social media platforms and content publishers ( such as Conde Nast or Bloglovin ), without a lot of googling and external search. Second, on the retailer side, online commerce websites with the exception of a few players, have lagged behind in leveraging user lifstyle and UGC content to inspire their users. Moreover, the search and discovery experience on online retailer sites lacks visual intelligence. In many categories such as fashion, users shop for a certain pattern, style or visual appearance. Current technology is inadequate to capture the visual appearance of products.
In this blog, we discuss these challenges and possible fixes. We start with the promising news that Instagram is now testing shoppable buttons on their regular feed. Next, we discuss the challenges for commerce and retail. Then, we discuss how emerging technology and artificial intelligence can help solve both these problems at scale.