Pinterest adds custom QR-like codes for businesses, more shoppable pins

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With more than 300 million visual searches performed on Pinterest each month, the company is looking to make its visual search platform more useful during the holiday shopping season.

On Tuesday, Pinterest rolled out several new features designed to make it easier for people to find products to purchase through its platform, from QR-like codes for brands to append to product packaging to an influx of shoppable pins to its first mashup of visual and text search.

Custom QR codes for businesses

After adding support for QR codes in May 2017, Pinterest is rolling out its own version à la Snapchat and Messenger. Called Pincodes, the customized QR-like codes can be created by any business account and affixed anywhere, such as a product’s packaging in a retail store or a commercial on TV. After people scan the Pincodes using Pinterest’s in-app camera, the app will open to a business’s Pinterest profile or a specific Pinterest board it created, depending on what the business opts to link to. Kia, Kraft, Nordstrom, Real Simple and The Home Depot are among the first brands to create their own Pincodes.

As shown below, Pincodes are represented by a circular array of dots surrounding a central image. Businesses can use any pin that they have published to Pinterest as the central image, unless the Pincode corresponds to a Pinterest profile. For profile-linked Pincodes, the corresponding profile picture will be used as the central image.

Pincodes can be placed on product packaging or elsewhere and link to a brand’s profile or specific board on Pinterest.

More shoppable pins

Pinterest is stocking up on more shoppable pins heading into the holiday shopping season. In February 2017, the company signed a deal with ShopStyle, a shopping search engine acquired by Rakuten’s Ebates earlier this year, to convert ShopStyle’s product catalog that spans more than 5 million products from 25,000 brands into shoppable pins through Pinterest’s Shop the Look feature. Pinterest rolled out the feature so that brands could indicate when a product featured in a pin is available for purchase. People can tap on a dot laid atop a shoppable item to see a list including it and related items, as well as their corresponding items and links to buy them on a brand’s site. Now, Pinterest is working with ShopStyle’s network of 14,000 influencers to enable them “in the coming weeks” to create pins featuring Shop the Look-enabled products from ShopStyle, according to Pinterest.

Visual search as fashion stylist

In February, Pinterest debuted its visual search tool, Lens, that people can use to scan objects within images and be shown related objects on Pinterest. When it came to scanning clothing items, that typically resulted in Pinterest showing similar-looking attire. Now, Pinterest is a rolling out a feature called Lens Your Look that aims to improve Pinterest’s ability to show complementary items to complete an outfit. After people scan a clothing item using Lens, Pinterest will comb its index of 16 billion style-related pins to find the ones of entire outfits that include the scanned item (or something similar). People can also supplement these visual searches with keywords to refine what Pinterest is looking for; that marks the first time Pinterest has combined visual and text search, according to the company.

Pinterest’s Lens Your Look feature combines visual search with text search.

Responsive visual search

After rolling out a way for people to pinch to zoom on pins in August, Pinterest is making the interaction do more than enlarge the photo. Now, when people pinch to zoom on an object in a pin, they will trigger a visual search for that object. This feature, which Pinterest is calling “responsive visual search,” removes the added step of first needing to tap the Lens icon in the lower-right corner of the pin to activate visual search.

Firefox browser extension

Finally, Pinterest is rolling out a version of its Chrome browser extension to Firefox so that people can perform visual searches on any images found on non-Pinterest desktop sites. The Firefox extension works exactly the same as the Chrome version. When people click the Lens icon atop a photo, the extension will open an overlay showing pins featuring similar objects on Pinterest.

About The Author

Tim Peterson, Third Door Media’s Social Media Reporter, has been covering the digital marketing industry since 2011. He has reported for Advertising Age, Adweek and Direct Marketing News. A born-and-raised Angeleno who graduated from New York University, he currently lives in Los Angeles.

He has broken stories on Snapchat’s ad plans, Hulu founding CEO Jason Kilar’s attempt to take on YouTube and the assemblage of Amazon’s ad-tech stack; analyzed YouTube’s programming strategy, Facebook’s ad-tech ambitions and ad blocking’s rise; and documented digital video’s biggest annual event VidCon, BuzzFeed’s branded video production process and Snapchat Discover’s ad load six months after launch. He has also developed tools to monitor brands’ early adoption of live-streaming apps, compare Yahoo’s and Google’s search designs and examine the NFL’s YouTube and Facebook video strategies.

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