The LoveList app for iPhone enables you to quickly pin items you find in bricks-and-mortar stores on to Pinterest by scanning the product bar codes.

LoveList app lets you pin physical products on Pinterest


These days social networks are becoming an increasingly important element in the consumers’ purchasing process. Accordingly, many retail companies are looking to follow a multi-channel marketing approach, coupled with a commercial curation strategy. Now two friends, Cincinnati-based Brad Mahler, currently a creative director at global digital ad agency Possible, and Mark Tholking, an independent iOS developer located in San Diego, who previously co-founded BigSho, have come up with an app which lets you build up an online gift register or ‘wish list’ while out shopping in Main Street. Using the iOS LoveList app you can quickly pin pictures of items on display in bricks-and-mortar stores on to Pinterest just by scanning their bar codes. It also streamlines the future buying process for you or your friends by linking pinned items with the Amazon e-commerce site.

Between a wish list and a shopping list

The app allows you to scan the Universal Product Code (UPC) barcode of a product using your smartphone camera, in the same way as you would using the Price Check app from Amazon. In fact LoveList is referenced to the Amazon database. The app works instantaneously with Pinterest, and each Pin is automatically linked to the product page on the Amazon site. This makes creating a wish list much easier because, unlike many other existing applications and websites, Lovelist brings together on one platform all the items that you might want to obtain, and shares the list directly with your friends and family. For now, the app is a paid-for download costing $0.99.

Frequent unavailability problems with ‘pinned’ items

Of course this Pinterest-based approach to gift shopping can only work properly if the pinned products are actually available for purchase. However, according to mobile commerce vendor Branding Brand, almost 60% of Pinterest traffic to retailers’ sites during the 2013 holidays came from people in search of a product that no longer exists. And this figure has stood at over 50% since the Pinterest link to e-commerce sites was launched. Meanwhile simply pinning in-store items to Pinterest can do little to solve that problem as those items could eventually also disappear from stock, while Pinterest continues to recycle their links uselessly. Currently, LoveList is only connected to Amazon’s own product database, but the startup intends to quickly add support for individual retailers bothlarge and small. However, the app could come under threat from Pinterest itself, which could very easily add a barcode-scanning function to its own existing app. So if the LoveList developers want to avoid losing out on this market, they might need to think fast about extending its functionality.

By Manon Garnier