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Forever 21 rolls out visual search after test phase saw 20% sales rise

Forever 21 has become the latest retailer to launch a visual search option on its web store following a limited category test that saw sales rising.

The retailer has linked up with Donde Search to go beyond text-based online search and offer shoppers artificial intelligence-powered visual search and navigation.

What it means is that Forever 21 shoppers will now be able to hunt out items visually rather than typing keywords into the search. The firm said that the visual search and navigation function enables shoppers to search for dresses, pants, shorts, jeans and tops, with shoppers clicking on icons that illustrate the features they looking for in their clothing. That could mean a particular fit, a neckline or other feature.

The company had launched a test programme for the visual search back in the spring for dresses and tops and saw at least 20% increases in both conversion and order values.

The search will appear as a standalone Discover Your Style module on the web and mobile web homepages.

In addition, the retailer will leverage the technology for merchandising, recommendations and lifecycle marketing efforts.

“Visual search technology bridges the gap between the convenience of online shopping and the rich discovery experience of traditional retail by enabling our customers to search for clothing in the same way they think about it—using visuals, not words,” said Alex Ok, president of the company. “Early data shows that this is one of the most important innovations in the e-commerce space in recent years.”

Donde Search only launched its B2B platform this year with a mission “to help retailers solve product search and merchandising issues, as shoppers report that they will abandon an e-commerce site if they don’t find what they’re looking for within three clicks.”

The company has attracted heavyweight investment cash with tech that uses a proprietary algorithm that claims to mimic the way shoppers think about products and offer more relevant search results. It also “helps retailers streamline and scale their global merchandising and categorisation efforts by removing local language barriers associated with text-based classifications.”

The Forever 21 news this week follows an earlier announcement this month from rival H&Mthat it was adding the tech enhancement with the debut of its new e-tail site and app in the US.

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