Online shopping

Google Lens feature adds text to make online shopping more specific

Google on Thursday introduced an enhancement to its Lens tool that will help shoppers navigate the vast options on the internet and get very specific information about what they’re looking to buy.

The enhancement adds text to an image search. So if a shopper has a photo of a green sweater they’re interested in, but would prefer it in white, the search can be modified using words to display the options in the desired color.

The improvement comes after a pandemic period in which shoppers flocked to e-commerce, accelerating a trend that had grown even before COVID-19. E-commerce sales are expected to hit $1 trillion for the first time in 2022 and exceed $1.6 trillion by 2025, according to data from eMarketer. Purchases on mobile devices are also expected to continue to grow during this period.

To see: Retail sales will slow in 2022 due to inflation and other disruptions, but will hit nearly $5 trillion: NRF

GoogleGOOG,
-1.29%

GOOGL,
-1.34%
has steadily introduced new shopping tools over the past two years, including the launch of the Google Lens tool and a feature that allows shoppers to search for in-stock inventory at nearby stores, both in September 2021 .

In 2020, the tech giant launched an augmented reality (AR) tool that shows users what makeup will look like when applied.

Cowen analysts who attended the recent ShopTalk conference in Las Vegas last month spoke at length in recent notes about the growing importance of high-tech tools like artificial intelligence (AI), NFTs and live streaming. directly into the retail and consumer sectors. These tools help businesses more accurately identify what a customer is looking for, which is ultimately more likely to lead to a sale. And by collecting consumer data, businesses can better personalize the types of items, promotions, and experiences to which a shopper will respond positively.

As well: Here’s how retailers are tackling the delivery challenges that come with soaring post-COVID e-commerce sales

“Retailers and brands with first-party data can drive future interactions based on insights from previous customer interactions and offer creative engagement tools, such as buying quizzes and guides,” said Cowen wrote in a note released Wednesday.

“Data and AI also play an important role in merchandising, inventory and sourcing
channel management, promotions and pricing, and retailers who are leaders in leveraging data and differentiating the customer experience are gaining mind and wallet share, in our view.

It’s not just tech giants like Google that use these kinds of technologies. Retailers and consumer businesses, from Walmart Inc. WMT,
+0.11%
to Nike Inc. NKE,
+1.47%,
use these advanced tools in their businesses.

Shares of Google parent Alphabet Inc. are down 5.66% year-to-date but have gained 21.5% over the past year.