Online customers of fast-fashion retail chain Forever 21 will soon be able to shop for items using a new visual search function.

The Lincoln Heights-based company’s partnered up with San Francisco-based visual search engine Donde Search to provide this feature on its website and mobile app. Forever 21 shoppers will be able to search items by clicking icons that represent the features they want in an outfit, ranging from the length and fit of a skirt to the neckline and color of a shirt, the company said in an announcement.

“Visual search technology bridges the gap between the convenience of online shopping and the rich discovery experience of traditional retail,” said Alex Ok, president of Forever 21, in a statement. “Early data shows that this is one of the most important innovations in the e-commerce space in recent years.

The search feature was tested in May on the dresses and tops categories. In the first month after launching the feature, Forever 21 said it saw an increase in sales conversions and a 20 percent increase in average purchase value for the two test categories. The initial success convinced the company’s executives to integrate the tool on a larger scale on its e-commerce platforms.

Donde Search launched its B2B platform earlier this year to help retailers solve product search and merchandising issues. Shoppers will leave an e-commerce site if they don’t find what they’re looking for within three clicks, according to Donde Search, which uses a proprietary algorithm that “mimics the way shoppers think about products and provides more relevant recommendations.” Donde Search technology also helps retailers by removing language barriers associated with text-based searching.

Manufacturing, retail and trade reporter Shwanika Narayan can be reached at or 323-556-8351. Follow her on Twitter @shwanika.

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