How AI-Powered Visual Highlighting Helps Brands Achieve Product Consistency Across eCommerce

How AI-Powered Visual Highlighting Helps Brands Achieve Product Consistency Across eCommerce

4th Mar, 2024

Ashish Rao

By Ashish Rao

As eCommerce increasingly becomes a prolific channel of sales for consumer brands, they find that maintaining a consistent and trustworthy brand image is a constant struggle. In an ecosystem filled with dozens of marketplaces and hundreds of third-party merchants, ensuring that customers see what aligns with a brand’s intended image is quite tricky. With many fakes and counterfeit products doing the rounds, brands may further struggle to get the right representation.

One way brands can track and identify inconsistencies in their brand representation across marketplaces is to use Digital Shelf Analytics solutions like DataWeave’s – specifically the Content Audit module.

This solution uses advanced AI models to identify image similarities and dissimilarities compared with the original brand image. Brands could then use their PIM platform or work with the retailer to replace inaccurate images.

But here’s the catch – AI can’t always accurately predict all the differences. Relying solely on scores given by these models poses a challenge in tracking the subtle differences between images. Often, image pairs with seemingly high match scores fail to catch important distinctions. Fake or counterfeit products and variations that slip past the AI’s scrutiny can lead to significant inaccuracies. Ultimately, it puts the reliability of the insights that brands depend on for crucial decisions at risk, impacting both top and bottom lines.

Dealing with this challenge means finding a balance between the number-based assessments of AI models and the human touch needed for accurate decision-making. However, giving auditors the ability to pinpoint variations precisely goes beyond simply sharing numerical values of the match scores with them. Visualizing model-generated scores is important as it provides human auditors with a tangible and intuitive understanding of the differences between two images. While numerical scores are comparable in the relative sense, they lack specificity. Visual interpretation empowers auditors to identify precisely where variations occur, aiding in efficient decision-making.

How AI-Powered Image Scoring Works

At DataWeave, our approach involves employing sophisticated computer vision models to conduct extensive image comparisons. Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) models such as Resnet-50 or YOLO, in conjunction with feature extraction models, analyze images quantitatively. This AI-powered image scoring process yields scores that indicate the level of similarity between images.

However, interpreting these scores and understanding the specific areas of difference can be challenging for human auditors. While computer vision models excel at processing vast amounts of data quickly, translating their output into actionable insights can be a stumbling block. A numerical score may not immediately convey the nature or extent of the differences between images

In the assessment of these images, all fall within the 70 to 80 range of scores (out of a maximum of 100). However, discerning the nature of differences—whether they are apparent or subtle—poses a challenge for the AI models and human auditors. For example, there are differences in the placement or type of images in the packaging, as well as packing text that are often in an extremely small font size. It is, of course, possible for human auditors to identify the differences in these images, but it’s a slow, error-prone, and tiring process, especially when auditors often have to check hundreds of image pairs each day.

So how do we ensure that we identify differences in images accurately? The answer lies in the process of visual highlighting.

How Visual Highlighting Works

Visual highlighting is a method that enhances our ability to comprehend differences in images by combining sophisticated algorithms with human understanding. Instead of relying solely on numerical scores, this approach introduces a visual layer, resembling a heatmap, guiding human auditors to specific areas where discrepancies are present.

Consider the scenario depicted in the images above: a computer vision model assigns a score of 70-85 for these images. While this score suggests relatively high similarity, it fails to uncover major differences between the images. Visual highlighting comes into play to overcome this limitation, precisely indicating regions where even subtle differences are seen.

Visual highlighting entails overlaying compared images and emphasizing areas of difference, achieved through techniques like color coding, outlining, or shading specific regions. The significance of the difference in a particular area determines the intensity of the visual highlight.

For instance, if there’s a change in the product’s color or a discrepancy in the packaging, these variations will be visually emphasized. This not only streamlines the auditing process but also enables human evaluators to make well-informed decisions quickly.

Benefits of Visual Highlighting

  • Intuitive Understanding: Visual highlighting offers an intuitive method for interpreting and acting upon the outcomes of computer vision models. Instead of delving into numerical scores, auditors can concentrate on the highlighted areas, enhancing the efficiency and accuracy of the decision-making process.
  • Accelerated Auditing: By bringing attention to specific regions of concern, visual highlighting speeds up the auditing process. Human evaluators can swiftly identify and address discrepancies without the need for exhaustive image analysis.
  • Seamless Communication: Visual highlighting promotes clearer communication between automated systems and human auditors. Serving as a visual guide, it enhances collaboration, ensuring that the subtleties captured by computer vision models are effectively conveyed.

The Way Forward

As technology continues to evolve, the integration of visual highlighting methodologies is likely to become more sophisticated. Artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms may play an even more prominent role in not only detecting differences but also in refining the visual highlighting process.

The collaboration between human auditors and AI ensures a comprehensive approach to maintaining brand integrity in the ever-expanding digital marketplace. By visually highlighting differences in images, brands can safeguard their visual identity, foster consumer trust, and deliver a consistent and reliable online shopping experience. In the intricate dance between technology and human intuition, visual highlighting emerges as a powerful tool, paving the way for brands to uphold their image with precision and efficiency.

To learn more, reach out to us today!

(This article was co-authored by Apurva Naik)

- Ashish Rao
4th Mar, 2024

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