Although 83% of consumers in a survey conducted by The National Research Group believe visual search gives them easy access to information on relevant products and services, marketers have some work to do when it comes to educating consumers on its value. The biggest barrier to adoption is educating consumers on the ways they can use the technology.
The study was conducted in September 2019 and surveyed 1,500 consumers surveyed in the U.S. between the ages of 13 and 64. It found that 56% are aware of or currently use the technology. Seven of the 10 consumers who are most likely to try the technology do not understand its relevance to their lives.
“As companies create products it’s important they consider the end use and educate people on how to use them,” said Fotoulla Damaskos, SVP of brand strategy and innovation at National Research Group. “Marketers need to keep in mind whether this will help someone discover and learn, and if there are different ways consumers can approach the product.”
Many consumers do not understand the benefits and potential uses of technology, and need to be educated on the features and how they can benefit their lives. The personas found in the research suggest there are ways that people want to interact with visual search, Damaskos said.
The study, which relied on six focus groups and a quantitative survey, is intended to help marketers better understand how consumers views visual search and how it could change their shopping experiences.
Some 59% of consumers surveyed said a lack of education keeps them from using visual search, while 56% cite a limited number or inaccurate amount of relevant results, and 21% said privacy is a concern.
When consumers do use visual search, they rely heavily on their smartphone camera. Eighty-one percent of consumers use the technology on their smartphone to scan an object to find information, while some 35% use links tagged to a product or service in a photo or video, and 33% search the internet by uploading or taking a photo.
The phone’s camera has become a tool to get more information on products and services, per the study. Some 39% of consumers said they no longer need to wait in line to scan a product or barcode to see availability, pricing, and location information.
Some 35% say visual search eliminates the language barrier, while 33% say it provides real-time information on items from food to nutrition, 33% say it gives access to information about landmarks and businesses, and 29% say it empowers them as a shopper.
Consumers said they are less likely to try visual search when the technology relies on other search devices and does not deliver an immediate payoff. For instance, only 23% said they are willing to experiment with new styles or products without the risk of committing to the real thing. Only 19% of consumers were likely to try visual search with a saved picture or screenshot.