The Future of Simplified Social Shopping

TL;DR: Pinterest has always been the leader when it comes to innovative, lifestyle-oriented and aspirational content. Besides Instagram’s recent tag to shop capabilities, Pinterest continues to do something Instagram cannot: Call out to fashionistas, DIYers and culinary dreamers alike with its THREE seamless user-shopping experiences.

In the past year, we’ve seen social shift from shopping inspiration to actually allowing users to actually make purchases within the social platform. Instagram may have been first out of the gate, but Pinterest’s new Lens app is a force to be reckoned with.

Instagram, known best for its incredible wanderlust-y feel, rolled out its tap-to-shop feature starting in November 2016. This capability allows brands the ability to “tag” sellable items that link to an out-of-app purchasing page. Brands such as American Eagle, MVMT Watches and JackThreads have all participated in this new capability.

While this feature is innovative, Pinterest’s unbeatable and simplified shopping capabilities are queen.

Taking the platform’s click-it-to-pin-it mentality, Lens offers users the opportunity to snap a picture of an item they see in real life and immediately shows them what is being called a “Pinterest Visual Discovery.” For example, just point Lens at a pair of earrings, then tap to see similar styles or ideas of what outfits to pair them with.

Outside of a typical wardrobe search, Lens offers a similar process for furniture and decor ideas, foods and recipes, as well as fabric patterns and DIY ideas. According to the Pinterest Blog, “for now, Lens works best for finding home decor ideas, things to wear and food to eat. As more and more people give it a try, and we continue making improvements to our technology, results will get even better, and the range of objects Lens recognizes will get increasingly wider.”

Along with Lens’ technology, Pinterest’s Instant Ideas simplifies the research process even further for users. When you notice an idea that looks interesting, simply tap the white circle located on each Pin to instantly unlock related articles. For example, “circle” a wedding dress to see similar styles or a peach cobbler for endless recipes. Finally, Pinterest makes shopping simple through their Shop the Look capabilities. According to their website, “you can track down and even buy products you see inside fashion and home decor Pins”.

Since Lens is only in the BETA stage, it’s this Spark’s prediction that Pinterest will amplify this capability to include more in-app purchases, streamlined photo to item matching, and an even wider variety of Pins for Lens to search. Instagram, on the other hand, will continue its mission to become the all-inclusive app, but will it ultimately lead social shopping?