ASOS ‘photo searches’ are the new must-have trend

By Kitty Knowles 10 August 2017
ASOS photo searches are the next big thing. Pic: ASOS Amsterdam.

Visual search has arrived: Now hot shoppers will never accept anything less.

Dar-ling. Drop-down lists are sooo last year.

Now, with a little help from ASOS, you’ll never want to scroll through endless pages of products again.

Just snap or upload a pic of the item you like, and shop similar designs.

Putting ‘photo search’ front row

Launched today, ASOS’s new visual search is going to make magic ‘photo searches’ mainstream.

Like your colleague’s boots? Snap them and shop similar styles.

Spotted some sexy undies on Instagram? Screengrab, upload and shop.

Want what that magazine model is wearing, but with a friendlier pricetag? Take her photo and peruse cheaper alternatives.

“Inspiration can strike you anywhere and at any time,” said Andy Berks, ASOS’ Digital Product Director.

“Now, with just a couple of taps of their mobile device, ASOS customers can capture that fleeting moment and instantly search our 85,000 product lines to find the item that’s inspired them – or similar.”

Bang on trend

Now photo search technology is not ‘brand new’ as such, we’ve seen numerous smaller businesses developing their own smart ‘photo search’ tools.

We met Syte AI at the Decoded Fashion London Summit this summer, for example, while Snap Fashion was making waves on the scene as early as 2015. There’s Fashwell, Visenze, Staqu – and many, many others.

But you can bet, given that 80% of UK traffic for ASOS comes from mobile devices, that the company’s invested a bucket bag of time and energy perfecting its own unique tool. It already has a tech team of 900 employees, and plans to hire a further 200 in the next year, after all.

For now, the online store’s image search will only be available for iOS app users, although it’s “soon” to be available on Android too.

The future of fashion?

ASOS has always tried to push the envelope – launching the world’s first video catwalk, developing one of the highest-rated shopping apps, holding regular internal hackathons, and partnering with fashion tech startups, accelerators and VC firms to stay at the top.

But as a retail leader within the fashion industry, you’d expect it to be bang on trend with the latest innovations.

It’s in good company.

The big brands are hard at work; Burberry has created fantastic Snapchat campaigns, Tom Ford broke new ground with its instantly shoppable fashion show.

Small upstarts also have their own ideas. Cosign wants to make social media truly shoppable, while Style ID wants to help you get the look of your favourite TV stars.

The fact is that fashion has made it its business to be at the forefront of technology.

ASOS just put ‘photo searches’ front row. Once you use it, you’ll never accept anything less.