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Pinterest Doubles Down In The Shopping Cart Wars

With Pinterest capturing more than 100 million visits to its pages each month, it wants to make it easier for gawkers to buy the more than 10 million items available for sale in its space. Yesterday, it unveiled several new features that will make e-commerce easier and more seamless not only on apps but also on its Web site.

“Noting that people switch back and forth from shopping on their smartphones and on a desktop, Pinterest said that it is introducing buyable pins for the Web, a shopping bag and improving a mobile tool so it automatically detects products in images posted to the site,” Queenie Wong writes for the San Jose Mercury News.

“Many of us could (and probably do) spend hours on the site exploring the latest clothing, accessories, and home good trends. But Pinterest just made a change that will take you from admiring to buying faster than ever before,” writes Olivia Harrison for Refinery29.

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“The updates are part of Pinterest’s attempt to distance itself from comparisons to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Pinterest wants to be known as a network for inspiration in topics like travel, cooking and crafts, as well as for shopping both on and offline,” Mike Isaac writes for the New York Times. “At bottom, the site sees itself more as a competitor to Google — a way to search, discover and, ultimately, buy.”

Or, as the subhed on Rachel Metz’s piece for MIT Technology Reviewputs it: “The idea-sharing network is reinventing itself as an online shopping destination, and now it wants to help you find things to buy in the world around you.”

Pinterest president Tim Kendall talked up a feature that will launch in a few months that allows users to take a photo of an object and find it, or similar objects, within the app. 

“When you are in that moment — that magical moment of inspiration — you can find out where to get that T-shirt,” Kendall told the media at an event in San Francisco announcing the new features, Sarah Frier reports for Bloomberg. And it doesn’t have to be a product you spot on Pinterest — or even in cyberspace.

In an interview on Bloomberg TV, Kendall talks about a two-seat stroller he spied at a local park last weekend that he thought would be perfect for his own kids. “With this technology, I could take a picture of that stroller and immediately results would render that would show similar, or the exact stroller, and allow me to buy it within Pinterest without leaving,” he says.

Pinterest is also “ridding itself of the ‘Buy It’ button and created ‘Add to Bag’ so users can buy more than one item at one time and will have a shopping bag across all their platforms,” writes Alexandra Mosher for USA Today. “The shopping bag tells users the shipping deals that are available to them from that retailer.” 

The new features come a year after Pinterest “launched buyable pins, a feature that let users buy certain products they find on Pinterest directly through the mobile app,” writes Tracey Lien for the Los Angeles Times. “While Pinterest was slow to get its buyable pins feature off the ground, marketers believe its new features could be a game-changer — so long as the company understands it needs to ‘market the hell out of them.’

“Pinterest has a focus on product planning, discovery, and purchase, and there’s no one else — not Google, Facebook, or Snapchat — that has as much focus on it right now,” Bob Gilbreath, CEO of Ahalogy, which specializes in marketing on Pinterest, tells Lien.

“If Pinterest does have ambitions of becoming more of an e-commerce destination, it makes sense for Pinterest to start emulating moves made early on by e-commerce giant Amazon, such as personalization and recommended items,” writes Leena Rao for Fortune. “The key to personalization for Amazon has been the trove of data it has accumulated in order to recommend more products to its users. Pinterest said that its users are currently pinning four million items per day, and this data could be key to providing users with more personalized recommendations.”

For its part, Facebook yesterday said it “has launched a Chrome extension that adds a “Save to Facebook” button to Google’s browser,” Blair Hanley Frank reports on PCWorld, as well as a “a Share on Facebook extension that allows users to share Web pages with their friends by clicking another button inside Chrome.” Both are “direct strikes at Pinterest,” Frank writes.

Stay pinned for developments as they happen.

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