- Pinterest announced new features designed to enhance its e-commerce capabilities, including a shopping cart letting shoppers purchase multiple products from different merchants in one fell swoop.
- Pinterest also is expanding availability of a visual search tool similar to Amazon's Firefly that lets consumers find products by snapping a photo of the item, and expanding its use of Buyable Pin buy buttons from its mobile app to its website.
- The company claims that about 30% of people who shop on Pinterest use search capabilities to find products of interest, while another 50% discover items through related pins or the Pinterest homepage.
Pinterest is making a number of moves to separate itself from the throng of social media communities, and bring it toward an e-commerce model closer to that of Amazon and other online retailers.
The name of Pinterest's game is monetization of its social network community, and it seems to be pursuing that game with a decisiveness that eludes some social media sites. Facebook and Twitter, for example, have not gone as far as adding a shopping cart to their sites.
Perhaps Pinterest is moving quickly because it has some pretty clear ideas how to connect the dots between how its users use the site to research purchases and discover products, and the methods it needs to use to get them to buy. That's why Pinterest recently acquired the team behind the Tote app, which helped to highlight the preferred products of social media influencers. (It would be interesting to know if the Tote team had some influence itself on the timing of the moves Pinterest announced this week.)
It's possible that not everything Pinterest is trying will work, but the important thing is that it is trying, leaving the ads-and-analytics method of monetization to other social sites. Pinterest may not have been the first social network, and may not be the biggest, but it's determined to put itself out on the leading edge of an evolution where social media appears destined to intersect with e-commerce.