Here's How Pinterest Plans to Get You to Shop More
The social media brand wants to be a shopping hub.
Pinterest debuted a host of new e-commerce features on Tuesday as the social media brand looks to encourage more of its 100 million monthly users to purchase items directly from the site.
As company founder and CEO Ben Silbermann touted at an event at the company’s office in San Francisco, “these features are a big step in helping Pinterest become more of a shopping hub.”
The company’s first foray into buying were Buyable Pins, which debuted in June 2015, allowing users to start buying items directly from the pinning site. Users can click on “pinned” products that have a Buy button to see the price, choose a color, size, and quantity. Visitors can then click on a buy button to complete the transaction using a credit card or by paying with Apple Pay through their iPhones.
Pinterest said that it currently has 10 million items for sale on its site from retailers like Kate Spade , Neiman Marcus , Michaels Craft Stores, Nordstrom, and Macy’s.
Until now, the Buy button on pins could only have been accessed via the company’s iOS and Android apps. With Tuesday’s news, Pinterest will bring Buy buttons to the web so that shoppers browsing Pinterest boards on their laptops can buy items, too.
Pinterest is also launching a shopping bag, allowing its users to save items to a cart that can be accessed on its mobile apps and website. Merchants will be able to create dedicated pages displaying all the merchandise being sold through Pinterest and, like Amazon, will suggest items that a user might want to buy.
Another huge area of focus is improving visual search for products, explained Pinterest president Tim Kendall. On the company’s mobile app, Pinterest is debuting a new visual search tool within pins. Users will be able to visually search any item within a pin, and Pinterest will suggest similar items that can be bought through the social network. The company will also soon debut camera search, a feature in Pinterest’s iOS app letting mobile users snap a photo of an object and then present recommendations of similar items to buy on Pinterest.
As Silberman explained, the company wants to make it increasingly easier for people to buy items on its site. If Pinterest does have ambitions of becoming more of an e-commerce destination, it makes sense for Pinterest to start emulating moves made early on by e-commerce giant Amazon, such as personalization and recommended items. The key to personalization for Amazon has been the trove of data it has accumulated in order to recommend more products to its users. Pinterest said that its users are currently pinning four million items per day, and this data could be key to providing users with more personalized recommendations.
Although Pinterest may be following in the footsteps of Amazon, it’s worth pointing out that Pinterest doesn’t make money from its Buy button yet. Revenue generated from any sales using the Buy buttons go to the retailers selling the products. Pinterest’s primary revenue stream is through advertising, similar to fellow social media companiesFacebook and Twitter.
Nevertheless, Pinterest, which investors have valued at $10 billion, is still proving that it can bring in the kind of advertising revenue that Facebook has been able to generate.