Forever 21 extends visual search feature

American fast-fashion retailer Forever 21 has launched a new AI-powered visual search and navigation tool on its online and mobile platforms. The feature appears as an app titled "Discover Your Style" on the retailer's web and mobile homepages. 

The fast fashion retail giant is adopting a visual search feature to streamline customer experience online. - Via Phillip Pessar / Flickr

The new search function, developed by tech company Donde Search, allows Forever 21 shoppers to search for apparel by clicking on icons that symbolize visual classifications of clothes, like neckline, fit, skirt length and color. The popular millennial retailer is counting on this image-based approach to appeal to customers, who Donde Search found are likely to leave an e-commerce site if they don’t find what they’re looking for within three clicks.

“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 Forever 21. “Early data shows that this is one of the most important innovations in the e-commerce space in recent years. We’re excited to partner with Donde Search and look forward to building on our early success to develop the world’s most intuitive omnichannel shopping experience.”

In May of this year, Forever 21 launched a version of the search feature on their iOS app, limiting the app's use to the categories of dresses and tops. Within one month of the launch, the retailer reported a 20 percent increase in sales in the two test categories, leading Forever 21 executives to approve an expansion. 

“Integrating Donde into our mobile app and web environments has been seamless and efficient,” Ok added. “Fundamentally changing how our customers search for products and interact with our brand is no small task, but our partnership with Donde has been everything we could have hoped for as we build out our visual search capabilities.”

Donde Search anticipates that their visual search strategy is also effective for its ability to simplify online communication.

“As e-commerce’s share of retail sales continues to grow, it’s more important than ever that retailers use a universal language that both shoppers and merchandisers can understand,” said Liat Zakay, CEO & Founder of Donde Search. “Our visual search and navigation solution helps innovative retailers like Forever 21 eliminate language issues and improve conversion rates.”

Donde Search has also been linked to AliExpress, BlackRock, Google, Mobileye, Wanda and Waze.

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