The importance of a strong visual component to social media and the profileration of shopping-oriented sites like Pinterest and Facebook have been great for retail brands, as consumers are spending a lot more time looking at potential purchases online. However, there are now a bunch of startups trying to fix an associated problem, which is that once a photo of a product gets tweeted out or shared on Pinterest, re-directing consumers back to the original site — and turning them into purchasers — can be a challenge.
I’ve written about photo-tagging startups in the past that attempt to add multimedia to points on images on the web, but Pict, a new company announcing funding on Thursday, has a particular focus on integrating catalog information into a retailer’s photos, and when viewed in Facebook’s timeline the photos will be totally interactive without the consumer having to leave Facebook.
The company went through Angelpad as a company called Dropt in 2012. Dropt let designers create digital lookbooks that could be shared more easily than the traditional paper or PDF versions, but the founders realized there was an even greater opportunity when it comes to digital fashion sales. Fashion designer Steven Alan became one of the company’s first outside investors when it prepared to relaunch as Pict.
As Pict is announcing $1.4 million in funding and opening up its registration more widely this week (although you still have to request an invite.) The company works to let companies from large retailers down to individual Etsy sellers can tag and share photos of their products across the web.
“It’s really similar to tagging photos on Facebook,” CEO Brent Locks explained. “You can snap a photo on your phone, type in the names of products in the phone, and we pull in all of the relevant metadata from your uploaded catalog.”
While there are a good number of startups that allow you to tag images to re-direct back to the seller, Pict is unique in that it just focuses on product details — not adding maps and videos and tweets on top of a photo — and it has a mobile app, which allows sellers to take photos from a smartphone and post to social media on the go.
“It doesn’t require any kind of learning curve,” Locks said. “That’s the key that really differentiates us.”
The company has brought in $1.4 million in funding so far, and while it’s not a huge amount of money in the realm of startups, the company does have notable investors like Kirsten Green’s Forerunner Ventures, a successful e-commerce investor who put money in companies like Birchbox, Hotel Tonight, Threadflip, Wanelo, Warby Parker and others. Other Pict investors include Lowercase Capital, Opus Capital, Angelpad, 500 Startups, Gary Vaynerchuk, Scott Belsky, Steven Alan, Seth Berman, and others.