Hammerson are transforming the shopping centre experience – with Cortexica’s AI based visual search

With a portfolio of 22 shopping centres and 15 retail parks in 14 countries (not forgetting a grand total of 4,900 tenants), it is extremely important to retail property group Hammerson to make shopping in their centres a positive and immersive experience for retailers and their customers. This why they are taking the lead in digital innovation for in-store experience with their PLUS app, and its latest tool, Style Seeker, powered by Cortexica’s visual search and image recognition technology – FindSimilar.

In-store Vs Online Shopping

While physical retail has a long list of benefits for its customers, including offering a large range of retailers, the ability to try on items before purchase, accessible locations and of course catering, customers are not always unitising these benefits and opting for online. Furthermore, when taking a closer look at their shoppers’ journey throughout their centres, Hammerson found that customers weren’t utilising all of the advantages shopping centres have to offer, as shoppers were typically visiting the same 4-5 stores and were doing the same route around the centre each visit.

These findings encouraged the shopping centre group to improve their shoppers’ journey by incorporating the visual search tool Style Seeker to their PLUS app. Style Seeker enables shoppers to take an image of an item – be it one in a magazine, website or social media image, upload it to the app and search an entire shopping centers’ inventory for similar items.

How does it work?

  • Take a picture of your desired item
  • Upload to Style Seeker
  • Find products from multiple retailers
  • Add to your favourites and shop your look (maybe with a retailer you’ve never tried before)
Check out the tutorial here:

The Results

“90% of those that tried the app said they found it useful and 92% said they would use it again."

"In terms of brand engagement, 94% said that the app would encourage them to visit different or more stores.”

The initial trial of our FindSimilar visual search technology, and the above findings in the London Brent Cross store, were so successful that it led to the roll out of ‘Style Seeker’ into all of the UK Hammerson shopping centres and is also rolling out to other countries such as France and Ireland

Shoppers across Hammerson’s UK (as well as across the channel), can now instantly search products from the inventories of stores at that location. The shopping centre group are streamlining the shopping process, allowing consumers to search almost 360,000 items from brands like John Lewis and River Island in one click, and still be able to enjoy a leisurely shopping centre experience.