Pinterest launches Virtual Shopping Bag and visual search

By Arnab Mukherjee | Published on 29 Jun 2016
Pinterest launches Virtual Shopping Bag and visual search

Online discovery platform brings in the touch of e-commerce beyond its app, while also competing against Amazon's visual search

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Pinterest, the online image board, has brought in a couple of new features to increase shopping on the platform in a bid to monetize its offering. It aims to transform itself from being mostly a discovery site to a shopping service, hence it has introduced a virtual shopping bag. This new cart-like feature will let you add products to a virtual bag while you are browsing the site and the pins that you discover. Before you leave the site, you can check out the products in your cart from within the site or the app itself.

Previously, the purchase option was only available on the mobile app and within the US. While the US only restriction hasn’t changed, they have expanded the purchase option to the online website as well. They are working closely with merchants to create a better experience for the user while shopping so that the basic USP of the user seeing only what they like doesn’t change.

Additionally, Pinterest has incorporated a visual search feature, wherein, when you open an image it shows a small translucent search button on the top right corner of the image. Once you tap that button, you can specify an area within the image by dragging a rectangular box. Based on that specification, the app identifies the object(s) within that area and suggest visually similar pins for you. This feature works on both the app and the web, and it is not region restricted.

While Pinterest has always been about merging social networking with discovery, they seem to be doing the whole ‘merging social and e-commerce’ bit quite well too. Previously, Flipkart and Twitter have both made efforts in the same direction with ‘Ping’ and the Buy button respectively, and we all know how that turned out. With this development, it would be even more interesting to see how Facebook’s supposed e-commerce bots turn out.

Arnab Mukherjee

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