eBayers just experienced a huge surge in post-Thanksgiving traffic but now they have another reason to celebrate: The visual-search shopping site Like.com
is adding eBay items to its database within the next few weeks.
"We are automatically adding eBay items in the categories of shoes, handbags, jewelry and watches, so we will be driving people to buy from eBay without them having to do a thing," Munjal Shah, CEO and co-founder of Riya, the San Mateo-Calif.-based company that created and operates Like.com, said yesterday.
Referring to people who own stand-alone Web shops, Shah said, "If you have a feed or a link, then just ping us, send an e-mail, and it may take a week or two, but we'll get you listed. Having an affiliate program helps because our business model is such that we make money by referring leads; you pay us when you get a click or a sale, we do use both approaches."
At the nascent site, shoppers can find items using photographs rather than simple text queries. For example, to purchase a purse, you simply click on the picture to focus your search on what part of the bag you like the most. You can select the color or shape or both and the "likeness" search will give you results based on the appearance.
Shoppers can also use slider bars to weigh how important color, shape and pattern are in their hunt. The query is compared to other items in the database and the most similar results are displayed from e-tailers such as Land's End, Zappos, eLuxury and more.
Like.com is still in the alpha-testing stage because the company wants to iron out any bugs and be able to incorporate shopper feedback in the final stages of development. Still, there are already 200 merchants selling two million different items on Like.com, says Shah.
"Right now we are focusing on the initial four categories," he said, "but in the next few weeks we will add clothing. In the near future we'll be adding furniture and home-and-garden items."
Shah is excited about the potential of visual search for future categories. "If someone likes a flower, but doesn't know what it's called, or sees a China or rug pattern, they can search for it without having to type in a text description," he said, "There really is no end to what you can do with a likeness search."
In January, the company plans to add the ability to let shoppers upload an image to the site and then look for similar items. "If you have a favorite old shirt that's worn and has holes, you can upload a picture of it and find shirts that look just like it," Shah said, "or if you see a friend's bridesmaid dress and you want something similar you can do the same thing."
Another aspect of the site that will likely boost sales is the ability to find more affordable versions of the stuff celebrities wear. Pictures of movie stars and other famous people are posted at the site, and if you fancy Brad Pitt's watch, for instance, you can click on it and the site displays dozens of similar looking ones at different price points.
The company is not releasing traffic stats at this point in the site's development, but initial performances bode well for the success. Shah says Like.com cracked the list of the top 200 most-visited sites for the first four days of its unofficial launch.
Michelle Megna is managing editor of ECommerce-Guide.com.