Pinterest wants to remake itself into an e-commerce platform.
The social network’s CEO Ben Silbermann and president Tim Kendall today announced Shopping with Pinterest, a number of commerce and visual search products that let consumers shop for multiple items, across multiple merchants on Pinterest and across the web.
Pinterest today announced that the platform’s buyable pins, which had been visible only on the platform’s iOS and Android mobile apps, are now available on Pinterest.com. That’s a move the social network said was coming in March.
Extending buyable pins’ reach facilitates another part of Shopping with Pinterest, which is what it is calling a shopping bag for the internet. That is, the shopping cart links to a user’s Pinterest account, which lets her see the items in her cart as she switches between phone, computer and tablet. A shopper can add multiple items to the shopping bag, then check out on any device when she’s ready.
Pinterest also launched new merchant profiles featuring buyable pins. A user can filter the results to see popular products, sale items and shipping deals.
“It’s more than just a buy button,” writes Tim Weingarten, Pinterest product manager, in a blog post. “Shopping with Pinterest isn’t just about buying. It’s a holistic approach to the entire shopping experience, from that first moment of inspiration all the way through to the purchase, and beyond. And it reaches across devices and even drives in-store sales.”
That echoes a point Pinterest has recently been pushing: Its platform influences consumers’ buying decisions both online and offline. The numbers bear that out. 55% of Pinterest users shop or find products on the social network, according to the recently released “Internet Trends 2016,” Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers’ Mary Meeker’s presentation on the state of the internet. That far outpaces its closest competitors Facebook (12%), Instagram (12%) and Twitter (9%). Pinterest’s internal data suggests that when a consumer sees a product on Pinterest she’s twice as likely to buy it in a store.
The social network also announced two new search tools: automatic object detection and camera search. Automatic object detection on iOS enables a user to find a product within a pin. That means that an image featuring a woman in a dress and holding a handbag can tap the visual search icon in the top right corner of the pin to explore the dots she wants to see. The camera search technology lets a consumer snap a photo on her phone and get product recommendations related to the image. The camera search is a “sneak peek,” Pinterest says, noting that the technology will roll out soon.
The moves to remake Pinterest into an e-commerce-centric platform are a step in the right direction, says Sucharita Mulpuru, Forrester Research Inc. vice president, principal analyst. “The experience up to date has been suboptimal for the shopper and the enhancements to buyable pins in particular are much needed improvements. There is still a long way to go but I expect they’ll see their conversion and overall gross merchandise volume go up as a result of these developments for sure.”
Debra Aho Williamson, principal analyst at research firm eMarketer, says,”Pinterest is clearly doubling down on the idea of shopping on a social platform. Other social properties have similar ambitions for ‘shop now’ buttons, but they don’t seem to have gained a lot of traction. Pinterest is different, however; people use it to find and pin products they might be interested in buying, which makes Pinterest a much better fit for shopping.”
The ability to add multiple items to a cart is also a big step, Williamson says. “Most people don’t just shop for one item, and this will make it easy to make several purchases at once, even from different retailers,” she says.
Last week, Pinterest acquired the team behind tote, a mobile commerce app that lets consumers browse and purchase products suggested by so-called fashion influencers and their friends directly within the app. Pinterest said it would shutter tote and allow the app’s users to migrate their accounts to Pinterest.Favorite