Pinterest has long been a platform built around the concept of inspiration. And with the platform planning an initial public offering later this year, it is increasingly focusing that inspiration around shopping.
The social network on Monday rolled out a number of updates to its platform aimed at helping retailers drive more sales via the platform.
“People come to Pinterest in a shopping mindset open to discovering products, which creates a great connection between pinners and businesses,” Pinterest writes in a blog post announcing the updates. “Pinners are looking for inspiration, and brands help make that inspiration a reality.”
Among the updates are personalized item recommendations for shoppers within style, home, beauty and DIY boards based on what they’ve saved; in-stock product pins now appear at the top of search results; and a new “Shop a brand” section that appears beneath product pins that enables a merchant like Levi’s to highlight other items within its catalog.
And, in its latest effort to help brands turn more of their products into dynamic product pins, retailers can now upload their entire catalog to Pinterest to create Product Pins on Pinterest. Product pins enable consumers to see dynamic information about an item within a pin, including its price, availability and where it is available for purchase. Consumers can click through a product pin to buy the item on the retailer’s website.
The social network also expanded the reach of its shopping ads to all businesses. Once a retailer’s products are on Pinterest, the merchant can promote items from its existing product feed with shopping ads using the platform’s self-serve ad manager tool.
“These updates help retailers get in front of customers who are looking for related products and pinners to see items that match their unique style and taste,” Pinterest writes. “For us, it’s not just about adding one or two shopping features—shopping is everywhere on Pinterest. You can search right from the home feed for in-stock products, or visually search an object in a Pin to learn where to buy it, scroll beneath any style or home Pin to see Related Products, or discover new styles through personalized recommendations.”
The moves build on a number of other recent steps the social network has taken to make its platform more appealing to retailers in the lead up to its IPO. For example, Pinterest last month announced it is using artificial intelligence to remove the human element from Shop the Look pins, which let consumers learn more about the products that appear within a pin. Previously, the tool relied on what it called a human-in-the-loop approach to match product links with pins, which meant that someone had to confirm the relevant products were within the pin. Now, the platform uses software that continually learns over time to do this.
And last November, Pinterest launched a new ad format called promoted carousel ads that enable retailers and other advertisers to feature up to five images within one pin. The ad format—which is similar to the carousel ads that appear on Facebook, Instagram, Google and across the internet—provides brands with more room to highlight products, lifestyle images and videos in a single ad.
Pinterest is reportedly working with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. to lead its IPO, which could raise about $1.5 billion.