Pinterest rolls out shopping features in social commerce push

Pinterest is beefing up its shopping features as social commerce takes off.  On Wednesday, the

Pinterest is beefing up its shopping features as social commerce takes off. 

On Wednesday, the platform unveiled new shopping features that will make it easier for merchants to showcase their products and users to browse and buy on the platform. The new features are accompanied by a consumer-facing campaign to promote Pinterest as a place to shop. 

One product, called slideshow for collections, automatically assembles personalized video ads featuring merchant products, tailored to users based on their browsing histories. 

Another will allow verified merchants to add details to their pages about their values and the communities they serve. For instance, a merchant can designate that their products are responsibly sourced, or that their business is Black or LGBTQ-owned. The new feature coincides with the launch of the verified merchant program in Austria, Brazil, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland. The program offers merchants enhanced distribution and a “verified” badge. 

A third product ties to Pinterest’s creator program. With “Idea Ads” merchants can repost creator “idea pins,” Pinterest’s version of Stories, and amplify it as a paid ad, giving creators the opportunity to earn affiliate revenue. It’s currently being tested with brands and creators in 15 countries. 

Idea pins are “one of the first tests we’re doing at scale to help creators monetize their content on Pinterest,” said Jon Kaplan, chief revenue officer at Pinterest. “Our creator effort is an important and new way content is coming onto the platform.”

Pinterest sees creators as a key strategy to its shopping strategy. The platform is looking to highlight “expertise vs. celebrity,” finding people who are real experts in DIY, fashion, cooking and other areas, Kaplan said. 

“There is an opportunity for our creators to be modern day sales associates; that person with the knowledge to share how people should use certain products,” he said. “[Pinterest] shouldn’t feel like this highly produced, fomo experience.”

To support its ambitions in shopping, Pinterest has been working to expand the number of merchants on its platform. In March 2020, Pinterest and Shopify partnered to allow merchants to upload their product feeds to the platform. This, in addition to new shopping-friendly features such as AR makeup try-ons, has interactions with shopping “surfaces,” such as a shopping tab and related products carousels, to increase 200% year over year. In a Q1 shareholder letter, Pinterest said conversions attributed to the platform nearly doubled year-over-year. 

Roughly 36% of all US consumers will make one purchase on a social platform this year, according to Insider Intelligence. Platforms from Instagram to TikTok are rushing into the space, but Pinterest has a unique opportunity because of the way people interact with its platform, Kaplan explained. 

“Our mission is to help people find ideas, and then get off of Pinterest to do that in real life,” he said. “There aren’t a lot of places focused on your and planning your future.”

For now, shoppers on Pinterest are redirected to complete their purchase on a merchant’s website, but the platform is working on a native checkout feature. Ultimately, the goal is to use Pinterest’s graph of 400 million monthly users, who save pins 300 billion times per year, to create personalized shopping and discovery experiences for each user. 

“You can imagine a future where we create a personalized mall for every single person and bring the best of the analog experience to the digital world,” Kaplan said. “That’s the white space.”