The Hunt, a US-based community-driven visual search site, will officially launch in the UK tomorrow.
The website and mobile app, which was rolled out in the US last November by tech entrepreneurs Tim Weingarten and Simon Peck, enables shoppers to take or upload a picture of an item they want to buy, alongside their size and budget, and enlist the help of The Hunt community to find where to purchase that product or something similar.
The Hunt can be used to find items of clothing worn by someone walking down the street or seen in pictures on social media sites.
The app and website – which have already attracted high profile investors such as model Tyra Banks and actor Ashton Kutcher – send users links to retailers’ online product pages where they can buy a particular item, but retailers are not required to register with the service or pay any commission on resulting sales.
Weingarten told Drapers the company decided to launch in the UK as around 150,000 of its 3 million active users are already from the UK and downloads of the app here are accelerating.
Currently between 50-60% of ‘hunts’ are solved within 24 hours, and the search results generate around 2 million clicks a month onto third party retailer websites. The conversion rate from ‘hunts’ to sales is said to be between 1.5-2% – similar to that of Google searches.
Some smaller UK retailers, such as etailer Siren London, have already started engaging with the platform to boost its revenues by solving ‘hunts’ using products that they sell.
Sisi Tsoi, founder of Siren London, said: “The Hunt is now an integral part of our business contributing around 25% of SirenLondon’s traffic and producing around 8-10% of sales. Trying to have a conversation with each and every customer is the ideal situation for us and being part of The Hunt community is helping us to achieve this.”
The site it not currently monetised, but Weingarten added the company is now seeking to talk to retailers about future partnerships which could see them pay to amplify their results or sponsor search results.
Once established in the UK Weingarten said The Hunt will start of roll out UK-specific features, such as a filter to highlight UK-only searches.
He said the business “provides the glue between photos and ecommerce.”
“Apps and websites are becoming dominated by photos. We spend our time looking at photos on social media and blogs and this solves the frustration of saying ‘I love that, but where can I find it.’”
The app is currently only available for iPhones but will extended to Android devices in the next couple of weeks.