September 8, 2011, 11:19 AM

Site search is becoming more colorful

Picitup enables smaller retailers to install visual search tools on e-commerce sites.

Lead Photo

Larger e-retailers such as Art.com Inc. have begun using visual search technology to aid consumers shopping for products, and now the technology could filter down to smaller retailers. E-commerce technology provider Picitup has released a new version of its PicCommerce package that enables retailers to install their own visual search technology.

The technology enables shoppers on an e-commerce site to search by color, as well as to narrow the search to specific items, such as orange caps or caps in colors close to orange. Shoppers also can search for multicolored products, or products that have shapes similar to other items.

Retailers using the previous version of PicCommerce enabled visual search on their e-commerce sites by linking with the tool’s application programming interface, or API. Fees for the service range from approximately $100 per month for the smallest retailers to about $1,000 a month for the largest ones. Picitup has made its visual search tool available to smaller retailers through an extension to e-commerce software provided by Magento, and also via a widget that retailers can install themselves; the previous technology generally was too expensive and cumbersome for smaller retailers.. “It will crawl their site for product images, index their visual attributes to enable later searches and produces two lines of JavaScript for them to copy and paste into their web pages to get full PicCommerce functionality,” says Alon Atsmon, the vendor’s CEO.

Art.com uses Picitup technology for its visual search tool launched earlier this year. The tool enables consumers to search for posters and paintings that are similar to images in galleries and other places, or which match shoppers’ color or shape preferences.

“With visual search we witnessed an increased level of engagement on our site and are helping our customers explore, discover and ultimately purchase the perfect piece of art,” says Roberto Mameli, the retailer’s vice president of engineering.

Art.com is No. 105 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

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