Social blogging service Pinterest has strengthened its shopping capabilities in an effort to streamline the customer journey from browsing its catalogue of images to making a purchase, as well as rolling out new visual search tools.
Among the developments are the roll out of the platform's 'buyable pins' ad format to the web, and the addition of a shopping bag enabling consumers to shop for multiple items simultaneously, furthering the platform's transition into a retail hub.
The shopping bag feature will initially be available on Android and the in-browser version, with a version for the iOS app planned. Users will be able to move buyable pins into a shopping bag and continue browsing, building up a selection of purchases before completing the transaction.
Also included in the new shopping features are a streamlined checkout process, and new filtering options within brand pages that enable users to find popular products, sale items or those with shipping deals.
"Since we launched Buyable Pins, our partners have seen some incredible results," said Amy Vener, director of commerce product marketing at Pinterest. "Like Modern Citizen, a San Francisco retailer and one of our very first Buyable Pins partners. Since implementing rich pins and Buyable Pins across their product inventory, they've seen sales from Pinterest increase by 73 per cent."
Pinterest is also strengthening the visual search feature the platform introduced last year. Since launch, the feature has seen over 130m uses a month, as users search for objects, styles and colours they see on the platform. Now, Pinterest is introducing automatic object detection for the most popular categories on the platform, so people can visually search for products within a image.
The new feature will remove the need for users to define their own visual search area (although this function will remain for people searching for more abstract things like a pattern or a particular colour) as well as highlighting additional objects within an image when a person decides to explore it.
Pinterest is also starting to preview new camera search technology that will enable users to find recommendations based on products they find in the real world. Consumers will be able to take photos of a single object and explore similar items on the platform, or even take a photo of an entire room and get results for multiple products.
These ambitious plans for visual search have been powered by Pinterest's acquisition of two companies working on similar technology at the end of last year, Pext and The Hunt. Pinterest clearly believes that visual search will play an increasing part in its success, and given the image-heavy nature of the platform, it's hard to argue with their logic.
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