What: PICT is a web and iOS app that enables brands to create content-rich photos, or PICT’s, that can be distributed via Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, or Instagram to drive commerce and increase brand awareness and engagement. As users interact with those images, brands can track engagement with both the photo and the products in those photos, and actually see which photos are driving users to a brand’s site to complete a purchase.
Where: San Francisco, CA
Who: Brent Locks, Co-Founder & CEO
What was the hunch that got you started?
It actually all started with another product that we built called Dropt. My co-founder had started a fashion line. We saw how the industry could benefit tremendously from technology adoption, so we built a technology around the one thing every fashion brand — whether a billion dollar brand or an independent designer — must have: lookbooks.
Dropt was a digital lookbook service. At the time brands were creating paper or PDF lookbooks. We allowed brands to create HTML5, mobile friendly lookbooks that could be shared to social networks or embedded on their blog or website. We started noticing that a lack of control around the lookbook photos existed because people could freely take images from the lookbook and share them across the social web. We saw this as a problem because the brands didn’t know this was happening, where their photos were going, or how people were engaging them. On the flip side, when people on social networks came across the photos, they lacked the context of the photo: What products are in the photo? Who made the products? Where can I buy the products? How much do they cost? With PICT we are solving these problems
What have you learned? How have you failed? How have you had to pivot?
Dropt to PICT was a pivot to capture a consumer’s intent to purchase at the moment of discovering beautiful visual content. When you come across a PICT photo on Facebook, for example, you can hover over the photo within your News Feed and see all the meta data you need, such as what products are in the photo, how they were made, where they were made, other photos of those products, how much they cost, and where on the web they can be purchased.
Also, before we had an explicit focus on fashion and, specifically, lookbooks, but PICT works across multiple industries (e.g. CPG, Housewares) with any beautiful photo that displays a product that can be purchased somewhere on the web.
We also found that brands were creating more and more visual content via their mobile devices, so it was important for us to let brands leverage our technology when creating that content on their phones. So we actually released PICT as a mobile-only product, initially. Quickly we started seeing brands emailing themselves photoshoot photos just to use our app, so we realized we needed to have an accompanying web application, as well, which we built and released.
What is your team like? Company Culture?
We’re 6 full time with 4 part time. While our team is almost entirely developers, we are a design and user experience focused company. Our customers are brands who care tremendously about how that brand is represented. We spend an incredible amount of time always ensuring that we’ve created an experience and aesthetic that brands would be proud to share with their followers and community. Other than that, it’s definitely kind of a stereotypical tech company: nimble, tightly-knit, sometimes boisterous, with a love for our product.
What is your plan for monetization?
Currently, it’s a data-metered freemium approach; we deliver analytics to brands so they can get down to really granular level into the performance of their photos, with things like which products, in which photos are the most popular on Facebook or Pinterest or Twitter. Everything is lightly PICT branded, but we have plans to release more white-label features soon.
It’s used by a large range of people – from individual Etsy sellers to billion dollar brands. We tier the analytics package based on the amount data that we’re going to have to collect per the calls and demands of the client.
What can brands learn from you?
From a product standpoint they can absolutely learn about their social marketing efforts and their customers. We truly help brands quantify the ROI of their social efforts because we can track a photo from creation all the way through to purchase of the product(s) in that photo. We also help brands identify what is resonating with their followers by highlighting photos and products that are getting the most engagement. We provide great insights around what stories and content are going to spread.