San Francisco — What you see is increasingly becoming what you can get. Or if not that, then something pretty close.
Making it possible to comparison shop for items similar to any detail in any digital image is the aim at social shopping platform Piccing, which has raised $3.62 million in Series A funding from undisclosed investors that include private individuals, friends and family. A site redesign and updated iPhone app are also new.
“Every product within an image can be monetized, and that’s exactly where we’re going,” said Piccing co-founder and chief executive officer Dirk Spielmann.
Despite its Palo Alto address, the online and mobile platform founded in 2011 by European entrepreneurs Spielmann and Nikolaj Zethraeus is virtually unheard of among U.S. consumers. But it counts 42 million members, mostly women between 18 and 34 from Germany and the United Kingdom, who visit the site for an average of 10 minutes and five seconds daily to browse, share and shop women’s apparel and accessories similar to items pictured within images they’ve uploaded or found online.
As more and more retailers experiment with visual search technology to match items from shoppers’ smartphone camera images to those in their inventory, Piccing stands out for being a social platform offering results across fashion and lifestyle brands. Also notable is an emphasis on in-stock inventory, with results returning only items available for purchase in the user’s location. A product match rating feature introduced today collects feedback on the technology’s matching accuracy to refine the underlying, proprietary algorithm over time.
Users can select — or “pic” — any detail in any image and instantly search for similar, in-stock items available from the company’s 334 brand partners, including Giorgio Armani, Nordstrom, ShopBop, Stuart Weitzman, Swarovski, Yoox.co, Wolford, Mango and Zappos. Under current partnerships, Piccing operates as an affiliate, with purchases completed directly on retailers’ web sites. The company reports 1.2 million click-throughs from comparison shopping searches by its users a day.
With the Series A funding, Spielmann and Zethraeus said they will expand brand and content partnerships, including those with publishers seeking to add shopping functionality to their images.
“More and deeper integration with brands will be possible now,” Zethraeus said.
The company also plans to further build out its mobile presence, geo-location technology and integration across social media platforms and expand its 26-person team, spread among offices in Palo Alto, Zurich, New York City, Cape Town, and Hong Kong.