Photo Credit: pixabay
Remember when everyone was predicting that social media would become the next great e-commerce platform? Well, as companies like Facebook and Twitter have found out, it might just be the case that people don’t want to shop online while hanging out with their friends and followers. Social newsfeeds are crowded enough without ads and brand endorsements showing up in your feeds. Perhaps the only company that seems to have figured out the whole e-commerce problem is Pinterest.
If you think about it, Pinterest is the perfect social media platform to get people to spend their hard-earned dollars online. Presumably, if you’re spending time each day collecting pins of beautiful dresses, handbags, shoes and jewelry, then you might actually be persuaded to buy one of those items sooner or later. Social media experts have always claimed that the act of pinning a product showed “intent,” and now Pinterest is taking very serious steps to convert that “intent” into an actual purchase.
Inside the new Pinterest shopping features
The overall goal of Pinterest is to make both the website and app more “shoppable.” What this means in practical terms is making it as easy as possible for its 250 million monthly active users (MAUs) to go from viewing a photo to buying whatever is in that photo. As a result, Pinterest is now making sure that there is up-to-date pricing and in-stock information for all product pins.
And, perhaps more interestingly, Pinterest is also creating a “Products Like This” category under each fashion or home décor pin. Thus, even if you can’t afford the thousand-dollar dress you saw your favorite celebrity wearing on the red carpet for some Hollywood awards show, you can still find the next best thing at a more affordable price point. (It’s the same logic behind Amazon.com’s “customers also bought this” functionality – it’s designed to get you to buy something, based on your demonstrated willingness to buy something else.)
In addition, Pinterest is adding a new shopping shortcut within the app to connect you to products faster. This is brilliant, because it recognizes that people are not going to be as motivated to buy something if they have to navigate through a lot of web pages to find something they want to buy. (Most people today, unfortunately, have attention spans that are measured in micro-seconds)
Pinterest’s big makeover before the IPO
So far, Pinterest has had a lot of success in finding ways to monetize social media content. In 2018, Pinterest is on pace to double its advertising revenue, as more brands get on the Pinterest bandwagon. And it’s easy to see how creative new shopping features (including Pinterest Lens) will make it easier than ever before for Pinterest to finally capitalize on the promise of social media commerce.
Certainly, deep-pocketed investors are hoping that Pinterest has figured it all out. VC investors have already dropped $1 billion on the company, and are eagerly eyeing a potential IPO in 2019. As long as Pinterest is able to deliver on its goal of helping people buy what they see online, then these investors could be in for a huge pay day within the next 12 months.