The days of do-it-yourself crafting with mason jars may be a thing of the past for Pinterest's 55 million active users, if all goes as planned for the company.
The company rolled out a new tool Tuesday that would allow users to take pictures of products on the Pinterest app and find similar items for purchase, shifting the social media platform away from an e-scrapbook, toward a large metaphoric shopping cart that could collect users' favorite products over time.
In the past few weeks, Pinterest has announced a number of initiatives like this that may change online shopping, including a shopping bag feature on the web that allows consumers to add items to a longterm shopping cart, as well as "buyable pins" via the web (this feature was previously only available on mobile) that allow users to purchase items directly from Pinterest.
On Tuesday at its headquarters, the San Francisco-based unicorn spoke of its plans for a visual search tool, tried with little success by both Amazon (AMZN - Get Report) with Firefly and Alphabet (GOOGL - Get Report) with products like Google Goggles, that would allow users to take a picture of a product and search Pinterest for similar items. The tech has not yet been launched.
While Pinterest, which allows users to "pin" designs, articles, videos, recipes and photos, or "pins" onto their own dashboards, has always been a "robust" platform for engaging users with its products, according to Forrester Research's Sucharita Mulpuru, there's been a growing need for the company to monetize its platform.
"They were always about products and discovery," said Mulpuru, the vice president and principal e-business and channel strategy professionals at Forrester. "All of the data shows people are totally inspired on things to buy and new products they want to learn more about on Pinterest. ... They need to monetize themselves, and advertising is one of those ways."
Fortune reported that Pinterest currently has about 10 million items for sale on its site, however it currently doesn't garner revenue from items. The company generated about $100 million in ad revenue last year, according to the Wall Street Journal. The site's connection to products are what puts it in a good position to benefit fiscally, Mulpuru said.
Its inability to capture a significantly larger marketing network, however, is because of some of the site's glitches, Mulpuru said. The lack of purchasable pins (she estimated about less than 1% of pins are even buyable) and information necessary to complete a transaction online (like details about products and how to pay) have slowed growth.
"The things that are 101 of e-commerce they are just kind of rolling out right now, and they still have a ways to go," she added. "If anyone can win in shopping, they should. But I think they are still a long ways to go because the experience isn't perfect yet."
This shift in e-commerce experiences may affect how customers shop and use Pinterest down the line.Executives said the new strategies will eventually provide advertisers with the ability to track users and their shopping habits.
"Is it making an impact on retail? Not yet," Marshal Cohen, chief retail industry analyst for research firm NPD Group, told the Wall Street Journal. "But the one thing we've learned over the last decade is when something is good with technology, and it hits successfully, it comes very quickly."
Mulpuru added that right now, using Pinterest is a leisure activity for many users, and not necessarily a shopping experience. Its brand has done well,m she said, and triumphed over similar sites like Etsy (ETSY - Get Report) that began with the option to buy any pin.
"It's one of the mega sites that is out there," she said. "There's something to be said that Pinterest has created a brand for itself and it has got this huge scale, but they are still working on their commerce revenue model. I think the improvements they made this past month have been impressive, but there's still a ways to go."
Still, the company is confident it can keep growing revenue streams outside of just advertising -- the sole revenue generator for the $11 billion company.