Social Commerce

Pinterest Users Can Now Shop With Their Cameras

Pinterest has found what they say is a better way to shop via its website: with a camera.

Starting Monday (June 1), users of the San Francisco-based image sharing social media service can tap the camera in the search bar and snap or upload a photo to see the “Shop” tab with similar products. Each product found will link to the checkout page on the retailer’s site, per the company’s announcement.

Pinterest said it has improved the search results that appear when users snap a photo within the Lens camera search, to match similar suggestions and products to buy. As a result, the company said, there are triple the number of visual searches using the Pinterest camera than there were in 2019.

“If you see it, you can shop it,” Pinterest said in its announcement. “The magic of Lens is it can help you shop even when you don’t have the words for a text search."

As more retailers bring their products to Pinterest, the 10-year-old startup said it is becoming easier for “Pinners” to shop armed with their cameras. Pinterest notes that it’s a simpler way to shop. For example, a shopper whose running shoes have worn out and wants to purchase a similar pair from a different manufacturer can use “Lens” to shop for in-stock products. Also, users can upload a screenshot from another app or a photo of artwork, a rug or pillows and “Lens” will tell them where it can be purchased.

“Lens can take images from offline or online and show you similar items for sale, from a range of retailers and prices,” Pinterest said. "It’s harder to browse the aisles of your favorite stores these days, but with Lens, you can browse the online catalogs of retailers to discover new products you’ll love.”

The Lens feature appears to be most popular in the fashion and home decor categories, Pinterest said. Those areas comprise about half of the items snapped through Lens, such as prints and artwork, shirts and tops, dresses, shoes, jackets, vases, mirrors, rugs, pants and throw pillows.

From February through April, Pinterest searches for at-home beauty products has increased by 30 percent, while searches for sweatpants have slipped by 12 percent during the same period.

At the same time, home office searches have reached their highest level on record, up nearly three times from February to April. While backyard furniture searches typically rise every spring, in May they reached a record high, three times as many as May 2019.

Like other shoppers who have switched to online grocery amid COVID-19, Pinners doubled their internet supermarket purchases in April compared to February.

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