Pinterest introduces 'buyable pins' allowing direct product purchase

Social photo-sharing service moves into e-commerce, creating option for users to browse items by price and colour – and purchase with a click

Social photo sharing service Pinterest is introducing a “buy button” allowing users to purchase products pinned to its boards.

The site and mobile app has long been the destination for browsing aspirational products, such as home ware, clothing and gadgets, but until now there has been no purchase option for users.

Ben Silbermann in San Francisco
Pinterest co-founder and CEO Ben Silbermann announces ‘buyable pins’ at a San Francisco event. Photograph: Pinterest press pack

Pinterest co-founder and chief executive Ben Silbermann announced the introduction of “buyable pins” at a San Francisco event at the company’s headquarters, and said:

“Pinterest is already designed to work like a catalogue, so we wanted to find a way to weave buyable pins into the pages people already know. Buyable pins are a simple and secure way to buy the products you love right from inside Pinterest.”

So-called buyable pins will come with a blue “buy it” button in the top right hand corner of the post, with a price point and options to search for different colours and costs.

Users will then be able to click on the button to purchase an item. Payment will be via credit card or Apple Pay, and processing is to be handled by payment enterprises Braintree (owned by PayPal) and start-up Stripe.

Pinterest itself will not hang on to users’ credit information, but will store personal information to make repeated purchasing simpler.

In a blog post, engineering manager Chao Wang explained that buyable pins will be rolled out across iOS products (Apple iPad and iPhone) in the coming weeks in the US, with desktop and Android versions to be released later.

Brands which will place buyable products on Pinterest include Macy’s and Neiman Marcus. Smaller retailers will also be able to sell to users thanks to partnerships with e-commerce companies Shopify and Demandware.

Pinterest’s video advertising campaign for ‘buyable pins’.

Pinterest’s move into a direct online shopping experience, competing with the likes of Amazon, is a long time coming.

The company, which launched its first iteration in 2010, has a valuation of $11bn (£7.2bn) and is thought to have 75 million users in the US alone according to comScore, although official figures have not been released.

According to Pinterest’s general manager for monetisation, Tim Kendall, 87% of users have gone onto purchase a product (outside of Pinterest) they have seen pinned.

Pinterest will not take a cut from retailers’ profits, but instead aims to make money from the venture by selling promoted buyable pins and advertisements.

The venture has been trailed online with a YouTube video and the hashtag #PinItBuyIt.

Pinterest 2015: men, mobile, and Apple Watch – but definitely not a social network


Hannah Jane Parkinson

The GuardianTramp

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