Do you dream of making that cold shoulder red and black checkered dress that you saw a celebrity wearing in the awards ceremony yours? Well, not surprising for most shoppers who love to buy things their heart is set on. So, getting to the decision of buying is easy, but how will you get it? The answer is well almost, if and only if you search using visual search in the various e-commerce portals, by uploading a screenshot of the gown that you very badly want. On the other hand, if you go by any other search option like voice or text, you already are reducing the option of getting the right product to a great level.

Although voice search may sound fancy, it is no different from text search-it is basically to speak out what you would otherwise type. Alternatively, visual search is for something that cannot be put into words and is much faster compared to the other available options.

Visual Search Vs Voice Search

Mentioned below are some pointers that elaborates why visual search has an upper hand over voice search or text search and thus is the most effective tool for an e-commerce portal.

Easy to describe

If a customer is searching for an intricately designed gown with a particular kind of thread work, it’s a huge task to describe it in words let alone search for it using voice search. This kind of search is a far more tedious process as compared to uploading a picture and searching which is a one click search process. Voice search is a long process as there are multiple levels of searches. Uploading and searching using the screenshot of the same dress gives out results in jet speed. So what would you prefer to offer your customer?

Language barrier

It’s rightly said that a picture speaks louder than words and here is the proof. While India itself has many different languages, world over there are many many languages. Not all are supported for a voice search on an e-commerce platform. Same holds true for text search, where not all languages are supported while searching textually and the search is affected. Whereas, there is no such barrier in visual search where you have to just upload the picture and wait for a second to get the desired results.


Many a times a simple sentence is not recognised because of accent issues. In that case, searching for something exclusive and getting results out of it unimaginable and a total waste of precious time. Again, with visual search no such hindrance takes place.

Search within a Search

In case of voice and even text search, when search keywords are fed, multiple results are given out where a range is shown to choose from. In case of visual search, only results that are those products or very close to what is being searched for including same colour, shape and pattern are provided.
Thus, it is safe to say that visual search is the final search in the e-commerce portal. For instance, if a buyer is searching for a neon orange pair of running shoes with red laces and white soles from a particular shoe brand, a visual search will give the buyer just that as against voice search which will give away at least 100 -200 results of the search. Searching from these is again a task. Human effort is wasted as one has to search within a search or will have to put more filters, which may not be available as those tags may not be there.
In this case, visual search will aid in a customer lead conversion for the e-commerce portal and a pleasant shopping experience for the customer, a win-win for both.

Search All at Once

If a buyer is interested in a particular living room décor with colour coordinated furniture like the sofas, the curtains and the centre table, she can search all of them at once with the object identification tag that allows her to click on multiple things that she is looking out for in one single search. In case of voice search, one would need to search for different things separately. So basically, individual search is required even if a buyer wants to buy a group of things. Also, there is a possibility of cross selling in visual search, where when options from the same picture are provided a buyer may indulge in spontaneous buying, which cannot be done in voice search.

Time Consumption

Visual Search is any day faster. According to one of the recent industry survey conducted in a mall of visual search vs voice search of a dress in a catalogue, visual search results took less than 5 seconds and for the voice search results ranged between 30 to 90 seconds. It was proved that the time taken to just click, upload and search yielded faster and accurate results than some other types of searching mechanisms.


Finally, what does the above mentioned pointers indicate to you as an e-commerce site? That even though the portal had that very product the customer was looking for it couldn’t service them because the customers were struck in the loop of text and voice search. Had you supported visual search, it would have been a different ball game with the customer serviced effectively and the e-commerce site making a loyal customer for life!

What are your thoughts on Visual search vs. Voice search in eCommerce? Write to us at and check out our Visual Search demo here.

“Turing Analytics is a machine learning company that delivers intelligent solutions to Retailers helping them improve product discovery, customer engagement and boost conversion rates. They expertise in building Visual Search & recommendation solutions, which enable retailers to recommend visually similar products to their customers and search products by uploading a picture.”