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One trend that will likely become more prevalent in 2016 is visual search, the ability to click on an image of a product and obtain information or even make a purchase, without typing in any words.

Urban Outfitters and other select retailers are offering visual search capabilities, and the failed Amazon Fire smartphone essentially made the world into an Amazon showroom with an advanced virtual search tool.

While consumers weren’t ready to adopt a new smart-phone platform, they are ready to adopt image-based product discovery and purchasing. Pinterest now offers a visual search tool that delivers product information, including retailers where the item can be found, although there is not currently direct purchase functionality.

Digital space is increasingly becoming visual space. The shift toward mobile, with limited room for text, as a primary means of online access is only hastening the shift. Visual search should see substantial growth in 2016, and may become the norm for searching and buying products in the years to follow.

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