Online retailer Temple & Webster is using artificial intelligence (AI) to change the way Australians shop for furniture and homewares.
Using the retailer’s new visual search feature, customers upload a photo of an item they like to search Temple & Webster’s catalogue of over 130,000 items for something visually similar.
The tool was developed with US-based AI experts GrokStyle and is powered by deep machine learning technology to recognise products quickly and accurately. By recognising the products that are clicked on the most in the visual search results, the technology refines how it matches items to images, learning which products are most relevant to customers.
Chief information officer Mike Henriques says Temple & Webster is the first Australian homewares and furniture retailer to launch a tool like this.
“AI technology is having a hugely transformative effect on a range of industries globally and we recognised early on the opportunities that it holds for the furniture and homewares space,” he says.
“We’re constantly improving our shopping experience for our customers, whether that’s offering them a wider product selection or better ways to shop... Now, when you see something you like, all you have to do is take a picture and we’ll match it to our range of products.”
Australian retailers in other categories are already using visual search, for example e-commerce fashion powerhouse The Iconic, and Temple & Webster CEO Mark Coulter says it is the perfect tool for furniture.
“Buying furniture and homewares is an emotional decision, and imagery is key to unlocking that emotion,” he says. “Image search is the next step in enabling us to deliver our vision of making the world more beautiful, one room at a time.
“Whether you’re out and about at a café or restaurant, flicking through your favourite magazine or scrolling through Instagram—by simply taking a photo of anything you like the look of, you can find something similar on Temple & Webster in just a few seconds. It’s actually pretty magical.”
The new search feature is now live on desktop, iOS and Android.
By Ruth Cooper