AI in Retail

4 Ways You Can Get Color Right: A Retailer’s Guide7 min read

May 21, 2019   |   6 min read

4 Ways You Can Get Color Right: A Retailer’s Guide7 min read

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Color plays a central role in our everyday lives. We perceive different colors with different annotations. They not only affect how we feel about certain objects, but also helps us express our emotions. All of our shopping and fashion choices are heavily influenced by color depending on our affiliations. While some of us may prefer warmer colors like reds or yellows, others may prefer their cooler counterparts like blues or greens.

When shopping, these preferences are further influenced by various other factors like the occasion we are shopping for, the seasonal trends and fashion trends. The color choices for any occasion changes depending on the geographical and cultural backgrounds. As for the seasonal influences, bright, warm colors like red and yellow are preferred in the summer while more earthy, neutral shades like green, brown and orange are preferred during fall. Winter sees the rise in colors like monotonous gray, black or white, while vibrant colors like blue, pink and green are more popular during spring.

Contradicting Cultural & Geographical Annotations

Color preferences are affected by cultural annotations, geographic locations and the different ways in which people express themselves around the world. Colors have a variety of broad associations in some parts around the world, however they are frequently much more specific in some others. This leads to a lot of confusion among retailers who want to focus on various marketplaces around the world.

Color Psychology is a principal part of the norms that dictate how each color has to be used with respect to traditions and occasions, especially for the Eastern countries. For example, in some countries like the US, White is worn by brides in weddings while in countries like China, it is worn in mourning. In the Western and Japanese cultures, Red symbolises love, romantic feelings on one hand and anger, danger on the other. The same color signifies auspiciousness and divinity in South Asian countries. Another common example would be the Eastern countries’ inclination towards vivid, bright colors like red, orange etc, as compared to the West.

Source: Information is Beautiful

Age and Gender As A Factor

A study by Joe Hallock on color listed out key factors that affect a person’s preferences based on their age and gender. As kids, the brightest colors in the color spectrum attracts our eyes. As we age, our preferences shift due to cultural and social factors, making us favor considerably darker shades and various other hues or tints. In his book, Color Psychology and Color Theory, Birren states that “With maturity comes a greater liking for hues of shorter wavelength (blue, green, purple) than for hues of longer wavelength (red, orange, and yellow)”.

Blue is an equally liked color by both genders, but it is not so for other colors. Women favor softer colors, pastel shades while men go for brighter hues. Women are also more interested in specific shades of a color as compared to men and categorise it accordingly. For example, specific shades like ‘Grape’, ‘Orchid’ or ‘Lavender’ appeal to women while men tend to categorise and search for it under one collective label ‘Purple’.

Source: Neil Patel

Nomenclature Discrepancies

Today, more than half the consumers around the world prefer shopping for fashion online than offline, while 64% consult a fashion retailer’s website before making a purchase. Being one of the most persuasive visual cues, colors play a crucial role in any shopper’s decision to buy a product on an eCommerce website.

|  90% of snap judgements about products can be based on color alone.

Understanding how each color is perceived based on different cultures is key to understanding how well they resonate among the shoppers of different geographies. It also helps retailers discern the different names that might be used to define the same color. For example, a lighter shade of purple, might be referred to as either ‘lilac’ or  as ‘light purple’. A darker shade of red, might be referred to both as ‘dark red’ or ‘wine red’. The nomenclature of colors varies around the world depending largely on culture, geography and gender as stated above. So, it then comes down to how you tag colors accurately so that the shoppers are able to find a product in the desired color online.

Source: Digital Synopsis

All the colors in the above image are various shades of red. But we cannot expect the shoppers to know the name of each shade. At the same time, we cannot assume that they will search for different shades under the category ‘red’ alone. This leads to the next problem that retailers face: How to tag the colors properly so that product discovery is not affected?

Product Discovery

In an experiment with Dynamic Personalization on a leading marketplace in Asia, we observed that similar product recommendations personalized on color got better engagement and conversions than those personalized on attributes like pattern or shape. When a buyer searches online for a product, they filter out products primarily based on color, sometimes without even realising it. Their search for a product online does not just end with identifying a product with specifications that suits their needs but in a color that most appeals to them. Ultimately, color becomes an important attribute that nudges a shopper to purchase the product.

For retailers, this means that when they prepare product content for their ecommerce site, the tags they use to specify colors are as of equal importance as the ones that determine the fit, shape, and length of a dress. Hence, the accuracy of a product’s tags; especially that of color becomes very important. A product, unless completely solid, will definitely have more than one primary color. Identifying all the colors in the product is the first step in approaching this challenge.

A Stepping Tool

In highly competitive industries like Retail, discoverability of a product based on color plays a crucial part in product search, customer interaction and ultimately, informed buying and merchandising decisions.’s Product Tagging tool, being an automated product tagging tool offers this and more. It can automatically tag and categorise entire product catalogs not only based on color but with other attributes like pattern, length, neckline, sleeve-type and more. It extracts attributes at a fraction of time and cost incurred by retailers today.’s Product Tagging tool’s capability to offer client specific and multilingual nomenclature allows multiple tags to be attributed to the same product.

Source: Shutterstock

When a product is tagged by automated solutions like’s Product Tagging tool, it automatically tags all shades of the color present as well as the color itself. For example, in the image above the dress is primarily purple in color.  But white is a secondary color and the little bit of yellow in the pattern is the tertiary color. The more deeper and detailed the tags are, the better its chances of being discovered, as it would be tagged under ‘purple’, ‘white’ as well as ‘yellow’ in color.

In addition to this, it will also be tagged under ‘floral pattern’, ‘knee length’ and ‘fit and flare’. So when a shopper searches for ‘white floral patterned dress’, the chances of this dress being discovered improves tremendously. It would be tagged under ‘lavender’ as well as ‘purple’ to avoid losing out on a potential shopper due to nomenclature discrepancies. This also helps retailers to grant unique names like ‘atomic pink’ and ‘laser yellow’ and still ensure that the product comes up under broader, common tags like ‘pink’ and ‘yellow’.

Most often than not, the simple knowledge on what works well with your shoppers, and how you can improve that particular aspect of their journey makes all the difference in the world. Color tagging is something that’s so obvious yet underrated in eCommerce. Using Product Tagging allows you digitize the product 10 times faster, leading to faster time to market and significant cost savings thereby improving the shopper’s product discovery experience and ensuring their commitment to your brand!

See’s Product Tagging tool in Action here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR engineers bespoke AI transformation roadmaps for enterprises across industries. Retailers to resellers, auto-extracting data from files to extrapolating fashion styles, 150+ conglomerates in five continents recruit How can we help yours?