May 11, 2011, 11:50 AM launches new search tools for poster-seeking consumers

The tools enable shoppers to find images similar to ones they like.

Lead Photo has launched two search tools designed to make it easier for consumers to find posters. One tool finds art work that is similar to images seen by consumers in galleries, restaurants and other places. The other enables consumers to find art with colors and styles similar to works that the consumer already likes., No. 105 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, formally launched the tools on its e-commerce site in April after testing it late last year. The tools—one is called Match My Image, the other Inspire My Discovery—were developed in-house, says Madhav Mehra, the web-only retailer’s vice president of user experience and product management. “What this is all about is discovery,” he says. “When you have a million items on our site, as we do, it is overwhelming if you don’t know what you are looking for.”

Match My Image works in this way: A consumer uploads an image from his computer—this can be an image stored on the consumer’s machine or a link to an image from a web site—and the tool searches the database for images that share certain attributes, such as similar color schemes, a similar style, or a similar subject or theme. Loading a head shot of a relative into the tool, for instance, brings forth, among other images, a portrait of a family that matches the style of the original image, along with an abstract painting with a similar color scheme. A consumer could upload a digital photo of an image from a coffee shop wall, Mehra says; designed the search tool so it can “see” images marred by blurriness or sunlight glares. 

Inspire My Discovery works in this way: A consumer selects from one of 16 art themes—this includes such areas as Abstract, Pop Art and Impressionist—and then selects specific images from within those themes. Consumers can store selected works of art in a box located within the tool.

The new visual search tools enable consumers to add the desired images to’s shopping cart. Consumers also can put those images into virtual frames before buying them. hopes the tools will encourage shoppers to spend more time on the site, view more pages and, of course, purchase more, Mehra  says. declines to reveal how much time its average shopper spends on the site, or average page views.

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