Facebook recently announced to expand its ‘Shops’ feature to WhatsApp and Facebook Marketplace. The company announced the new development in a blog post. The post also outlined its plans to add visual search for shopping on photo-sharing app Instagram.
With the visual search, Instagram users will be able to find relevant products on the platform using Augmented Reality (AR). “We’re investing in immersive technologies like augmented reality and artificial intelligence that will be the foundation for the way we shop online going forward. With new visual discovery tools on Instagram, we’re helping shoppers find new products, and with AR experiences we’re helping people visualize items before they buy” the company said in the blog post.
Shopping on Instagram begins with a visual discovery. A user scrolls through the app and sees ‘thumb-stopping’ product inspiration. By the end of this year, Instagram will test a new visual search that will be powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Using the new feature, users will be able to find similar products, say floral print dresses by simply tapping on an image of a dress they like. They can also take photos from their camera to start a visual search.
Instagram is also helping brands to create an AR try-on experience in Shops to help shoppers get a better feel of the product’s fit before buying. “We’re also introducing new tools for brands to include AR product catalogues in ads that will automatically show relevant products to people based on their interests”, it says.
The feature is still at an early stage. Facebook says that the visual search will enhance mobile shopping by making even more pieces of media on Instagram shoppable.