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Pinterest is making it easier to click and buy the stuff you see

“Shop the look” is a new product that tags multiple products in Pinterest photos.

Ben Silbermann, CEO of Pinterest, speaks onstage
Ben Silbermann, CEO of Pinterest
John Lamparski / Getty Images for Advertising Week New York

Pinterest is making it easier for users to buy the things they see in photos on the service.

The company on Wednesday rolled out a new feature called “Shop the Look,” which lets users click on individual items in photos so they can buy them or, if they aren’t for sale, see similar items that are for sale through the network.

Brands can tag items themselves, or Pinterest employees will tag them so users can click through to make a purchase. The company already offered buyable pins, which let users make purchases on the service, but those pins were limited to a single item each. Now a brand can essentially advertise multiple products in the same pin.

It’s roughly the same feature Instagram started testing with a small group of retailers back in November. It’s not a new feature in general — retailers have offered similar features on their own websites for years — but it’s obviously new to Pinterest.


Pinterest announced the change Wednesday alongside a few other discovery updates. The most significant is one the company is calling Lens, which lets users search Pinterest based on an image they share with the service. So if you take a picture of a dining room chair at your favorite restaurant, for example, Pinterest will either find that chair for you or find similar-looking chairs based on the image.

It’s similar to Google’s reverse image search, which lets users scour the web based on images rather than keywords.

“You shouldn’t have to put your thoughts into words to find great ideas,” explained Pinterest co-founder Evan Sharp at a press event at the company’s headquarters in San Francisco on Wednesday.

Both updates are intended to make Pinterest more desirable for online shoppers. Pinterest considers itself a search and discovery service, not a social network, and the aim is to provide inspiration for users looking to do things like redecorate or plan a wedding.

Ideally, those inspirations include actual purchases, and enabling a purchase directly from the pin closes the gap between discovering a product and actually buying it.

Pinterest brought in $300 million in revenue last year, but has raised more than $1 billion from investors and was valued at $11 billion back in 2015. So the company, which is almost seven years old, is looking for ways to turn the billions of pins people have created into actual revenue.

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