Macy's Adds Visual Search, Image Recognition To Mobile

Online shopping typically begins with a search. Macy's has rolled out an image-recognition search app similar to features introduced by Neiman Marcus earlier this month. The mobile application allows consumers to snap pictures and search and find products.

Macy's Image Search, in collaboration with Cortexica, provides a new way for consumers to shop any time, anywhere. The retailer designed the app at its Idea Labs in San Francisco, but the software for the image recognition was developed and supplied by Cortexica, which supports mobile image recognition. App users can snap a photo of an item using their smartphones. Web users can upload any image, whether from their desktop or across the Internet to find similar items, and then purchase them.

When customers see a look they like on friends or on a celebrity, they snap a photo and use it to search for the same or similar products. The companies say it makes the mobile images "shoppable."

Mobile devices will play a major role in consumer purchase behavior during the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, with a projected 27% of purchases from mobile devices and 48% from tablets, per a mobile study from Criteo.

Criteo analyzed U..S holiday shopping behavior data from 2013 and 2014 to help marketers better understand how to launch successful digital advertising campaigns during the holiday season. The company's data represents activity from millions of online transactions, about 500 U.S. retailers on desktop, smartphones and tablets in 2013 and 2014.

The highest-performing time for purchases via smartphone is 8 a.m. and 10 a.m, per the study. Purchases via desktop are at their highest between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., and tablet between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Fashion and luxury verticals have the largest share of mobile purchases during the holiday shopping season, followed by toys and gadgets and sporting goods, per Criteo's study.

"Macy's Shoppers" photo from Shutterstock.

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