Etsy rolls out mobile image-based search

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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etsy mobile
Etsy is beginning to offer some app users to search via photo image.

Users of the Etsy iOS app who find themselves at a loss for words have a new option to find desired items.

Now, Etsy iOS app users can use images to discover products on Etsy. Shoppers can tap the new camera icon in the search bar and upload or take a photo, and Etsy will surface items that are visually similar to the image they shared.

Etsy built its proprietary image search feature from the ground up, leveraging the company’s first GPU-backed service. Customers can utilize image-based search across Etsy’s assortment of over 100 million items.

According to Etsy, it has been seeing encouraging results in early testing of this feature, so it has now rolled out the beta to all iOS app users. As the company continues to learn and improve the user experience, it hopes to expand image search to Android app users soon.

Etsy is not alone in providing image-based search to online consumers. Google has been developing image-based search and shopping features based on its Google Lens solution for the past year.

In the same timeframe, Pinterest has been expanding visual and even video-based product search features. H&M has been offering visual search since 2018, and Macy’s launched an app with image search capability as far back as 2014.

Given Etsy’s focus as a marketplace for crafted items which are often unique or may not easily fit search keyword descriptions, it makes sense for the e-commerce marketplace retailer to join the retail visual search trend.

“Until now, the fastest way to find what you’re looking for on Etsy has been to search keywords, but we know that when inspiration strikes for our users, words aren’t always enough,” Han Cho, product lead for Etsy’s buyer-facing iOS and Android apps, said in a corporate blog post. “We’re always investing in our marketplace to make it easier for sellers to grow their businesses. We’re excited for this new, innovative feature to make it easier for sellers to get discovered and connect with our built-in base of nearly 90 million buyers around the world.”

Etsy upgrades seller app
Etsy has also been busy bolstering the mobile capabilities it offers its sellers. The retailer recently launched a new Etsy Seller app intended to help sellers seamlessly communicate with their customers, easily manage their orders and inventory, and effectively run their businesses.

With the new Etsy Seller app, sellers are obtaining additional capabilities including:

  • The ability to check order statuses and get important insights at-a-glance, such as whether they have a repeat customer.
  • Adding photos and listing videos directly from their mobile device.
  • Having access to order details when messaging a buyer and utilizing saved replies to respond quickly to common questions.
  • Purchasing and printing shipping labels via the app.
  • Managing their inventory and having access to detailed insights about their Etsy shop’s performance.