News Feature | February 19, 2015

Inside Pinterest's Buy Button

Source: Innovative Retail Technologies

By Brianna Ahearn, contributing writer

Pinterest Logo

Pinterest, the popular social networking website that lets users “pin” images of food, home décor, and more, is getting into the e-commerce game. Used by homemakers, bloggers, and creative alike, Pinterest is a tool letting users save images and links worth keeping on a digital bulletin board. Up until this week, Pinterest was used by affiliate marketers but now the website is removing all affiliate links, and is instead focusing on its own moves into monetizing its website. The newest move for the company and network is their own buy button, says Re/code, which broke the news last week. Re/code says Pinterest could debut a button this year, saying it could even be as little as six months.

By clicking the buy button, Pinterest users would be able to purchase products they pinned, however, Pinterest wouldn't have any control of the retailers' inventory, and would simply provide a way to purchase the items a user was pinning. The actual order fulfillment and processing would be performed by a retailer or a third-party. According to recent statistics, over 60% of Pinterest's user base is female, meaning the new button would provide a good chance to market to women.

Pinterest isn't alone in its reach for e-commerce as Twitter has been testing a buy button of its own since September 2014.  There are currently over 70 million users on Pinterest, with 2 million pins sent daily. As of September 2014, Pinterest had 30 billion pins. Looking at the numbers, this forecasts a new option for retailers to increase awareness and sales. As Re/code puts it, Pinterest is essentially a “digital mall” waiting to happen. Pinterest has already waded into giving marketers a chance to harness the power of the pin by adding an “Install” button for users to download iOS apps when on the website. In June 2014, the social network introduced Promoted Pins with companies like Shutterfly and Nicole Miller as part of the test. Pinterest already lets companies and retailers join as business, not individual, users. The social network states how Hearst Media and other big names are using Pinterest to collect data, gauge engagement, and more.

Multiple retailers already integrate Pinterest's “Pin It” button on their websites, as well as run Pinterest marketing campaigns (Target is a notable mention) showcasing their merchandise. The next step is logically to connect the pin to the purchase, and the new button should do just that.  Asked by Re/code to comment on the buy button addition, a nameless source says “Part of our strategy to help people discover new things, save them, and do these things in real life has always been to make Pins more useful.”

Re/code also states that Pinterest is talks with Stripe to handle payment processing. Stripe currently works with Facebook and Twitter to handle their users' purchases on their respective sites. The difference between Pinterest, however, is its users are actively sharing and pinning products they're already wanting, whereas Facebook and Twitter users are seeing promoted tweets in the midst of using a social network.