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Zappos Introduces a Pinterest Shopping Feature, But How Does It Work?

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Close but no cigar, Zappos.
Close but no cigar, Zappos.

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One of the biggest complaints about Pinterest is that it's hard to shop. People pin images, but unless the pins come straight from brands it's hard to tell where the item comes from and if it's even for sale. Enter PinPointing, a new Pinterest feature from Zappos.

PinPointing is basically like a "Shop This Look" feature on any shopping site, except that the looks are based on Pinterest pins. You can just type in the name of a pinner you like, and the program will populate the page with the images they recommend. If there's a particular pin you like, click on it and get recommendations. Even if the images are from, say, Barney's, you'll only get suggestions for Zappos products.

Writer Caroline Waxler tried it out for the New York Times, and her review is mixed. She notes that it was hard when the feature suggested a non-style pin, like when a picture of a golden retriever pulled up a pair of gold shoes.

Based on a picture with a caption that read "Street Style Spring 2013: Paris Fashion Week – A chic cape moment in plaid always delivers," PinPointing got the plaid memo but of the first five images it served up (before the user has to click "more") didn't hit the mark. The first two style suggestions were men's items, starting with Quicksilver walking shorts. Then a kid's plaid puffy vest, and a woman's dip-dye long-sleeved plaid shirt from a company called Rock and Roll Cowgirl. A PinPointing image of a bride and groom cutting a cake, taken from a New York Times wedding Pinterest board, is followed by a burgundy infant shoe as its first image. You don't get to the sleek Stuart Weitzman bridal shoe until four pictures down.

Waxler reports that the beauty feature worked the best, with the most recommendations that matched the original pin. A pin of Butter London nail polish actually went to a page full of other Butter London nail polishes. PinPointing admits that the feature is a little glitchy and that they're still working on improvements, and they're releasing updates of the program today. So get to pin-shopping already!
· Test Drive: Zappos Introduces PinPointing, a Pinterest Shopping Companion Tool [NYT]
· How Much Are Brands Paying People To Pin? [Racked]
· 50 Fashion Editors To Follow on Pinterest [Racked]