How youth brands are using visual search

One of the top trends expected to dominate the ecommerce industry in 2019 is visual search: the technology that allows consumers to search for products by uploading an image. 1 billion visual searches are already being made per month, and this is expected to grow exponentially as more brands and digital platforms get involved. As the 16-24 demographic are usually early adopters when it comes to consumer tech innovations, it’s vital for any retail business that caters to this group to understand and consider ways to implement visual search in the year ahead.

Looking for inspiration from the biggest and best? Here’s how some of Gen Z’s favourite brands are experimenting with visual search.

Snapchat x Amazon

Ahead of their keynote at YMS18 NYC last month, Snapchat announced an exciting new partnership with the world’s largest online retailer. Snapchat users can now take a photo of a product or barcode, and click through to purchase the item or something similar on Amazon. The new functionality is being tested with US users in advance of a wider global rollout.


Pinterest, who joined our panel ‘Creating truthful and innovative digital content’ at YMS18 SFO, launched their VisualDiscovery tool in 2017. This enables users to upload an image they like and find similar content across their site and app - ideal for creating mood boards. Monthly visual searches grew from 250 million in February 2017 to 600 million in February 2018.


Swedish brand H&M was one of the first major fashion retailers to introduce a visual search tool to drive online sales. They added a camera function to the H&M app, which shoppers can use to upload photos and screengrabs to track down the products they’re craving. If the exact item isn’t available, they’ll be presented with similar items from the H&M collection.

Get more future tech insights and inspiration from the leading youth brands at YMS19 LDN, coming up in April at London’s Old Truman Brewery. Click here for more info and access to Early Bird tickets.