Retail / eCom

Visual big data, cloud reshaping relationships between e-retailers and brick & mortar shops

Online clothing retailer Zalando announced Wednesday that the company it trialling a cloud-based visual search technology that connects customers with the pair of shoes they’re looking for, a technology it’s calling FindSimilar. Iain McCready, chief executive officer of Cortexica Visual Systems, the company that developed the technology, said cloud-based visual data analytics is transforming e-retail by giving customers a more curated shopping experience, helping customers find exactly what they want, quickly.

The software developed by Cortexica essentially takes a photo of any sort of footwear and then analyses it against a database of images. Working like a ‘visual search engine’ it displays a range of shoes with similar characteristics such as shape, colour and design and allows the consumer to choose from a tailored selection.

The company said the technology works by replicating the way the brain processes images and finds similarities, and when embedded into an app or fashion website offers a curated shopping experience.

“Shape is particularly important when searching imagery of shoes, handbags or fashion accessories. When purchasing clothes or shoes online, shopping by pictures is the easiest way for consumers to find what they are looking for,” the company said.

It claims that this is the first time computer scientists have managed to programme a system to recognise shapes in the way that it does.

“Staying one step ahead of fashion is a constant challenge for many but we believe our technology helps consumers to do exactly this,” said Iain McCready, chief executive officer of Cortexica. “ Once the search engine is embedded in an app, the software has the ability to help shoe shoppers narrow their search and make better choices, this could result in them finding similar and often better items available elsewhere.”

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