Forever 21 Unveils AI Search Engine With Visual Angle for Shoppers

Technology company Donde Search recently partnered with Forever 21 to introduce a visual search and navigation system, which the retailer said has boosted its sales.

Shoppers visiting and its mobile home page will find this new search engine in the standalone “Discover Your Style” module.

Shoppers no longer have to type a fashion term into a search bar. Instead, they can click on an icon that represents the features they want in an outfit, including the length of a skirt, the color of a shirt or the type of neckline.

Donde’s search engine provides images of millions of styles, and shoppers can use the icons to find the specific item they want in seconds, said Liat Zakay, chief executive officer and founder of Donde Search, which is headquartered in New York City but runs a research and development office in Tel Aviv.

“We allow a more relevant recommendation system,” Zakay said. “Donde offers levels of granularity when shopping. When looking for a dress, the shopper can find similar dresses with different lengths, sleeve styles, patterns or cuts.”

The use of icons, not words, on Donde’s search engine gives retailers an increased opportunity to sell goods globally.

Forever 21 started testing “Discover your Style” in May with dresses and tops. The retailer saw an increase in sales conversions and a 20 percent increase in average purchase value for the two test categories, said Alex Ok, Forever 21’s president.

Visuals were key to the program’s success. “Visual-search technology bridges the gap between the convenience of online shopping and the rich discovery experience of traditional retail by enabling our customers to search for clothing in the same way they think about it—using visuals, not words,” Ok said in a statement.

While Donde released a popular consumer app in 2014, it wasn’t until earlier this year that it released a business-to-business app, which Forever 21 started testing. Donde hopes to work with other retailers with this business-to-business app, which uses a proprietary algorithm and artificial intelligence.