Pinterest bets on eCommerce and visual search

Pinterest’s 200 million users will see more ways to shop on the platform in the coming months, as the discovery company continues to evolve its eCommerce efforts.

Pesident of Pinterest, Tim Kendall, pointed to the company’s ‘Buyable Pins’ – which allows customers to purchase ‘pinned’ products within Pinterest’s platform. He said this functionality is only the beginning of the platform’s eCommerce journey.

“When you’re on Pinterest and you want to shop, we want to give you the quickest way to buy that product,” he said. “In some cases you’ll want to buy it on Pinterst, in other cases you’ll leave the pin and go to the retailer’s website.”

Speaking at Shoptalk Europe in Copenhagen, he said: “Over the next 6-12 months, our efforts in shopping will continue to evolve.”

Kendall pointed to the recent launch of ‘Shop the Look’ which allows customers to click on a product in an image to find out exactly what it is and be linked to the retailer which sells the item.

“We’re looking to combine the Buyable Pins and Shop the Look,” he said. “And we will continue to support purchases on and off Pinterest – and we find users want both.”

Visual search

Kendall said the company is also putting a lot of investment into visual search technology, which he believes goes hand in hand with the platform and eCommerce because “shopping is highly visual”.

Nine months ago, Pinterest launched a product called ‘Lens’, which allows customers to take a photo on their smartphone and use Pinterest’s algorithms to match the image with the most relevant pins from its database of 100 billion.

Pinterest also has an agreement with Samsung’s flagship S8 device to be integrated into the smartphone’s native camera app.

Kendall said Pinterest wants to do to discovery, what Google did to search, and he believes visual search is the way to achieve that.

“You fundamentally have to be at the forefront of innovation in computer visualisation,” he said. “We have these use cases which sit on top of the tech – we don’t know what will take off, but the future of discovery will be visual.”

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