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Advanced e-commerce capabilities come to Pinterest

01 July 2016 - 19:59 by Graham Miller

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Social sharing site Pinterest has always been more geared towards getting its users to carry out safe shopping online than rival platforms. And now the process of finding the items that are included in pinned images on the service has just got a lot easier.

The Daily Mail reports that a new AI-driven visual search service within Pinterest makes it possible for real world items to be identified in images with greater accuracy than ever. So rather than having to manually search for a particular flowery cushion or brand of furniture, users will be able to capture a picture and get the information in an instant.

The Shopping with Pinterest tech is all part of a wider drive by the site to get more of its users enjoying safe shopping online through its official channels. And chief exec, Ben Silbermann, said that the site acted as a great way for people to find items and gain inspiration, but that the next step was to convince them to make a purchase.

So-called ‘buyable pins’ will be arriving on the site in the near future for its desktop site, expanding the mobile-led experience that has fuelled its growth in recent years. And with more than 100 million people harnessing Pinterest on a regular basis, there is a potentially huge market of consumers that it could exploit to boost revenues.

Visual search is not a new concept, but by integrating artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms, Pinterest should get much better at detecting and differentiating between inanimate objects over time. Silbermann compared this functionality to the convenience of having auto-complete fill out forms without users having to enter the information themselves, pointing to a bright future of e-commerce in which fruitless searching for obscure products is a thing of the past.