Wayfair Launches New AI-Leveraged Feature

Wayfair has officially launched “Search with Photo,” a new feature that leverages artificial intelligence to assist consumers in the product-buying process.

Consumers can use it to take photos of furniture that the company’s algorithm will attempt to match to similar Wayfair products. The product will return results from Wayfair over 8 billion products even if the photo taken looks unlike anything they offer.

To use the new feature, shoppers use the camera icon in the Wayfair.com search bar, which allows them to snap a photo or upload one from their photo library. From there, shoppers will have the opportunity to browse similar items from Wayfair’s inventory, with an option to either add products to an Idea Board to save for later or purchase immediately.

“What sets our application apart is the rich, massive, proprietary furniture & décor data set that we used to train our models, which continue to get smarter as users engage with visual search results,” says Matt Zisow, product director at Wayfair, via email.

The company said that since “home furnishings is a largely unbranded category”, people will find value in the product because it will recommend similar, if not the exact, options.

This kind of customized consumer journey, according to Zisow, is the result of the systems Wayfair used to create the feature.

“Our ‘Search with Photo’ feature is one application of our proprietary computer vision system,” says Zisow. “We developed that system using a deep convolutional neural network approach that others, including Google and Pinterest, have used to develop similar applications.”

The feature is part and parcel to Wayfair’s recent innovative push toward consumer experience.

The online retailer spent 2016 pushing boundaries on its marketing, launching an AR app where users were able to engage with 3D models of products in their home, a VR app that transports users to an immersive lakeside retreat, and a A+E show that blends commerce and storytelling in a format for home enthusiasts

And, the innovative strategy appears to be paying off, as the online retailer reported a direct retail revenue, consisting of sales generated primarily through the sites of Wayfair’s five brands (Wayfair.com, AllModern, Birch Lane, DwellStudio and Joss & Main), increased $342.5 million to $711.8 million, up 92.7% year over year, in the first quarter of 2017.

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