As more retailers are bringing their products online via Pinterest, the company this morning is launching a new “Shop” tab in its Lens camera search results that will show the matching in-stock merchandise similar to a photo you take of something offline in the real world or even uploaded as a screenshot.
To use the new tab, you first click the camera in the Search bar, and snap a photo or upload one. You’ll then see a “Shop” tab with shoppable Product Pins, including price and availability, along with links that deliver consumers to the retailer’s checkout page.
While the camera was originally intended to help shoppers find matching products to those they saw in real-world stores and elsewhere while out and about, Pinterest suggests that consumers can now use the feature to find matches to products without leaving their house. You could snap a photo of your favorite running shoes you need to replace, for instance, or upload photos from your phone’s Camera Roll or from a blog or any other platform.
Pinterest says it’s now seeing as many as three times the number of visual searches using the Pinterest camera compared with 2019. That indicates a growing consumer familiarity with using their smartphone camera in order to shop. But it also points to the work Pinterest has done on the product over the past several months.
During the past six months, for example, Pinterest has doubled the number of attributes detected in women’s fashion, including color, pattern, fabric, dress style, length, texture, brand, neckline, shoe height, occasion, style and season. Its accuracy in product matching in fashion has also increased by more than 50% in the past year, the company claims.
The Shop tab’s debut follows a Shopify partnership that makes it easier for small businesses to upload their product catalogs to Pinterest to reach its some 350 million users, as well as last week’s launch of shopping spotlights — trends curated by influencers and publishers.
The Shop tab in Lens represents yet another way for Pinterest to compete with Google, which recently revamped its shopping vertical to include mostly free listings instead of paid ads, and whose own Google Lens camera lets consumers shop products that match those found in photos.
The Shop tab also presents a challenge to Instagram, which has been steadily growing its own Instagram Shopping service that connects shoppers with products found in photos, and allows them to transact without leaving the site. This feature was embraced by Target in May, around the same time that Facebook and Instagram announced the launch of “Shops,” which allow consumers to buy directly from a Facebook Page or Instagram Profile.
Combined, these efforts point to a new trend in the way consumers want to shop. Instead of long lists of products to scroll through, they want to be inspired by photos and real-world imagery, then transact. The result of this sort of image-driven shopping is an experience that feels similar to wandering a store and encountering the merchandise displays that are designed to catch your eye.
Pinterest’s new Shop tab in Lens search results is rolling out today.