Argos is seeking to streamline the purchase process with the launch of a ‘visual search app’ designed to allow customers to search for and purchase products using their smartphone camera.
The new tool capitalises on recent advances in machine learning and image search algorithms, which have advanced to the point that software can now identify specific and similar items based solely on a photograph.
Shoppers can then go-ahead with their purchase without ever needing to leave the app.
The technology is currently limited to furniture, curtains and homeware, analysing a static image to identify a specific shape, colour and style which may be shared by other items.
Argos digital director Mark Steel said: “Customers are increasingly using social media platforms, such as Instagram and Pinterest, as a source of inspiration so visual search has the potential to transform how we shop for the home. By creating it in our app, we’re intentionally putting this exciting new technology directly into the hands and pockets of our customers who are using mobile devices to shop more than ever.
“Customers seeking a product or even an entire room set they’ve discovered online, or seen in a friend’s home, can now browse our vast range of homewares and furniture to find great value similar items in an instant, simply using a picture.”
Argos harbours high ambitions for the field, with the ultimate goal of making their signature outsize paper catalogue compatible with the system.
Visual search has already been embraced by Snapchat where members can now locate and purchase Amazon items via a simple picture.