US-based visual commerce and marketing platform Olapic has announced a new service that gives brands an opportunity to use consumer-generated photos published to Twitter and Instagram on their Pinterest pages, with the aim of boosting sales.

From within the Olapic platform, customer photos are collected and matched to product identifiers, such as SKUs, before being linked and published to corresponding product detail pages. When pinned, these tagged photos will return online shoppers back to the specific product page and present consumers with an opportunity to purchase.

Olapic, which announced earlier this year that it is working with online fashion house Asos, says it is the first to link customer photos with product SKUs and product detail pages on a large scale.

Pau Sabria, CEO and co-founder of Olapic, remarked: "Consumers today live in an omnichannel world in which they value authenticity over stylised stock imagery, and seek new ways to engage with brands across social channels.

"Pinterest is a proven environment where consumers go for style inspiration and to discover products; the concept of extending user-generated content onto Pinterest and making it shoppable is a powerful new reality for brands."

Social commerce has been touted as 'the next big selling opportunity' for some years now, but brands and retailers on the whole have been unable to turn heavy-traffic-generating social media websites into significant direct sales drivers.

In a comment piece for Essential Retail last week, Alex Smith-Bingham, head of digital at Capgemini's Consumer Products and Retail department, suggested that consumers still rate social media down the pecking order in terms of importance in their shopping journey.

"One factor at play here is privacy concerns, particularly in sophisticated markets like the UK," explained Smith-Bingham.

"While half of people do trust their favourite retailers to use their personal data responsibly, only a third are comfortable if the retailer uses their social media data. It's clear that there is still some apprehension and perhaps a lack of understanding around how retailers are actually going to use their personal information and engage in their social space."

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Capgemini Consumer Products and Retail