Pinterest, the social bookmarking site has good news for its 70 million monthly visitors who use the service as a digital pinboard for planning trips, fashion, home design and other projects. Very soon Pinterest users will have the ability to buy products from inside of pinned items. Pinterest has confirmed that it will introduce Buyable Pins, the company announced at an event at its San Francisco headquarters Tuesday.
The buy pins that have been in the works for months, will be launching later this month. These buttons are blue in colour and sit next to the regular red pins. Users can search for buyable pins. For example, when a user types “jacket” into the search bar and clicks on the blue “see more” button at the top right corner, Pinterest will show a number of jacket options. If the user further clicks on the blue “$” sign, they will be able to enter a price limit by scrolling up and down. Once they set a maximum price, they will be able to swipe through all the jackets within the price range and pick up their favorite.
When a user is ready to check out they can pay with Apple Pay or a credit card, Pinterest will store the consumer’s credit card information for future transactions. Pinterest sends the data via an encrypted channel to what executives called a “vault,” where the merchants will the get the data from. Merchants will then let Pinterest know the transaction was made. Once the purchase has been made, users will be able to go back to searching and pinning their favorite items.
There are no fees for merchants or Pinterest users but the onus for returns will be on merchants, not Pinterest. Buyable Pins will be available to iPhone and iPad users later this month; it’s not clear when they will be available for Android and desktop users.
To begin with Pinterest is launching with 2 million items ready for purchase while joining hands with major retailers like Macy’s, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus, Michael’s, Jo Ann Fabric, as well as brands like Kate Spade, Cole Haan, among others. “Pinterest’s Buy button gives retailers the opportunity to capture that emotional moment. When pins become transactional, brands – especially those who have a large user base such as Kate Spade and Cole Haan – will be able to monetize their Pinterest fans through a call-to-action Buy button,” Adam Forrest, senior director of Americas Marketing for software company Demandware said to ClickZ.
New merchants will have to work with Shopify or Demandware to list in order to get their products for sale on Pinterest. The company’s general manager of monetization Tim Kendall said to TC that tens of thousands of merchants are already working through those platforms so it is the fastest way to get products on Pinterest that users can buy right away.
Commenting on the launch, Pinterest founder and CEO Ben Silbermann said that the goal was to make shopping optimal for phones, noting that 80% of people buying things on Pinterest buy those things from their phones.
However, Kendall informed that brands will not be able to promote Buyable Pins. As of now these businesses will have to rely on organic traffic to drive sales for their products for the time being. “This isn’t an ad offering, it’s an experience for pinners,” he said. “Pinners tell us, ‘I discover great things from Pinterest every day, I stumble across it, I wish I could buy it on Pinterest without leaving — it’s about addressing that pain point. Basically we’ve been told for five years, it’s the No. 1 request from pinners. For partners it’s a way to reach customers already on Pinterest, sell products but continue to own the customer relationship.”
How long will this statement hold true for the $11 billion company is too early to state. But this is a move that retailers and users have been waiting for. With Buy Button feature, Pinterest has given one more reason for users to stick around and retailers to showcase more content so that users can buy and eventually drive sales.
Pinterest already has a suite of advertisement products, the buy button feature enhances the platform with a possible new revenue stream.