Home Depot’s Visual Search Is Center Stage on Mobile App

Tim Denman
Editor in Chief
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Home Depot

Home Depot has seen the popularity and capabilities of its mobile visual search function increase rapidly since its launch 18 months ago, prompting the retailer to place the function front and center in its highly popular mobile app.

When the retailer initially launched its visual search function, powered by Slyce, the technology was not readily available throughout the mobile app. In its beta test form, customers needed to know where the solution was housed, typically a few clicks deep in the mobile interface, in order to do a photo-based search.

“We have seen significant growth since we first introduced visual search,’’ says Shawn Coombs, senior director product management platforms, Home Depot. “We introduced it in a beta mode because we really didn’t understand how customers would use it. Once we found there was strong customer adoption and were comfortable with how effective the recommendations were for the products we made it much more prominent in the app.”

Today, regardless of where shoppers are within the mobile application, visual search is never more than a click away. All the user has to do is tap the search icon in the upper right corner of the screen and select the camera and they are ready to conduct a search.

The consumer simply snaps a picture of a product they are interested in and the solution instantly searches Home Depot’s extensive product catalog for that exact product and/or similar products. Typically, shoppers use the visual search function in one of two ways: to locate a product they are interested in, or to find complementary items to a product.

“Let’s say for example a customer has a leaky faucet,” says Coombs. “Using the visual search technology they can find a variety of different faucets that will be very similar or perhaps an identical match. Within the product detail page, they will find the parts and supplies that they will need to do a replacement or repair.”

As shoppers continue to become more comfortable with photo-based applications (Snapchat, Instagram, etc.) the popularity of Home Depot’s visual search function has increased. “Visual search is just one component of a series of things that we have in our app to help the consumer navigate through a problem and try to solve it,” says Coombs. “We look at it as another way for the customer to describe the problem and the product.”