Pinterest has already captured over 100 million users by giving them the resources to create virtual pin boards filled with ideas for any project, meal, or event they may be planning.
People build their dream closets, virtually collect interior décor, and come up with ideas to improve their life, fitness, and just about every aspect of their lives.
Typically, these pins link to outside sources that contain blogs for ideas, or retailers where users can purchase the items to which they have been drawn on Pinterest. In doing so, Pinterest was missing out on a huge money maker.
Why direct people elsewhere when they could not only act as an infinite idea board, but provide the service for users to act on it by directly buying the products they love?

The Solution: Buyable Pins

In June of 2015, Pinterest announced that something new was on the horizon for their users, and that idea was buyable pins. For many, this announcement didn’t come as a surprise as it seemed like a natural progression for the immensely popular website.
Pinterest said in their blog that they are,

“always looking for ways to help you go out and do the creative ideas you pin-whether that’s figuring out the ingredients for a new dish or installing an app to mix up your workouts.”

With so many boards filled with people’s wishes, they wanted to figure out a way to help people make things happen. The introduction of buyable pins did just this.

The buyable pin option first became available for iPhone at the end of June in 2015, with Android following shortly after in November.

  1. The buyable pin shows the price of the product
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  3. It also allows users to search through color and size options right in the app.
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  5. Once the desired item is selected, it can be purchased directly and securely through the Pinterest app
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  7. Apple Pay and experienced payment processors to make sure credit card info is secure.
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There is also the option to search for pins at a certain price point, which helps people select the perfect item for their needs. This featured is expected to become available on the desktop version shortly in mid 2016, but it is currently capitalizing on the popularity and prevalence of mobile devices while this new platform is in its infancy.
Pinterest has taken every effort to maintain their users’ privacy and to communicate to them that they are able to use Pinterest as a trustworthy and reliable way to buy products. Once a Pinterest user enters their information after the first time, the app then stores it so it doesn’t have to be entered in every time, saving time for their users and making buying easy

Have Buyable Pins been Successful?

What people really want to know though is if this new concept is working for Pinterest.

1) First and foremost, it is helping both consumers and retailers.

Retailers are able to reach a huge audience of potential customers, while people are able to discover new products and brands that they may not have otherwise known about. Merchants who utilize this Pinterest feature have noticed increased purchases from new customers.

“One of the most exciting things we hear from marketers is that they’re seeing a lot of new customers come in through buyable pins.”

(Michael Yamartino, Head of Commerce Pinterest)

2) Helps Target First Time Buyers

They have also noticed that the majority of the people who buy an item through Pinterest are first time buyers from their brands, which means companies wanting new customers can turn to Pinterest to help them bring in new users.

Online merchant FlyAway BlueJay said that 100% of their sales generated through buyable pins are from people who have never bought from them before. They also told us that 20% of total sales over the holidays came from buyable pins. For them, this is a channel that helps them reach a new audience.

(Michael Yamartino, Head of Commerce Pinterest)

3) Established Brands helping Small Business Growth

Pinterest has partnered with several well established merchants and huge retailers like Macy’s and Nordstrom. By having well known companies selling items in the Pinterest store, it helps users realize the legitimacy for newer brands as they can see that brands that they know and trust are selling their products through Pinterest.
And people are buying directly through the merchants, so returns, exchanges and questions people have, are not through the grapevine, and, therefore, consumers interact directly with the merchant for direct and accurate answers.
Pinterest acts as a gateway for users to find the products and buy them. Because this is a new platform for Pinterest, the amount of retailers who are utilizing the Pinterest Buy It Now feature is still growing.

Rather than people buying things for $5 to $50, they found that people bought midpriced items in the $45 to $170 range.

(Michael Yamartino, Head of Commerce Pinterest)

4) Expansion To Desktop

After working on the introduction of the added feature, the company has seen the potential and has dedicated 2016 to ensuring an excellent shopping experience for users. They want to connect with users in every way they can, which is why they plan to bring the option to the desktop.
It has been found that people are nearly twice as likely to make a purchase on a desktop as they are on a smartphone, and slightly more likely to make purchases on desktops than a tablet. This is due in part to people feeling more secure buying on a computer, rather than over mobile networks or public wireless internet.

5) Deeper Customer Analysis

Pinterest is also able to analyze the interests of its users based on what they pin and when they pin it. They are then able to offer suggestions that are customized to trends that the user has followed on their individual pin board.
This gives them a major advantage over direct retailers when it comes to offering personalized recommendations. Normal retailers can only offer suggestions based on items that a person has viewed while visiting their site, or based off of prior purchase history.

6) 60 Million Buyable Pins

While right now buyable pins are only available in the United States, as they perfect the platform it is expected to expand internationally, which would make it bigger than anyone ever would have predicted.
In less than a year of offering the buyable pin option, over 10,000 brands have elected to use the feature, with the products totaling over 60 million offerings.
As their offerings grow, it becomes more and more profitable and beneficial to the company all while bringing new users as they recognize what a valuable shopping resource the platform has become.

7) Pinterest Shop

In addition to buyable pins, they also offer a centralized location on the site for those who want to just shop. The Pinterest Shop groups items, so if a user is searching for a specific item, they can browse what Pinterest has to offer.
This features allows them to see items from popular stores in addition to items from retailers which they may not be familiar all in one centralized location. It also offers a place for people to browse trends for those who need a little inspiration, which gives users the best of both, the suggestions Pinterest is able to offer and a way to quickly and securely buy them.

8) Buyable Pins Have Virality

Another benefit of buyable pins on Pinterest is the social aspect of it.
Friends can see what others are buying to get ideas of what they should buy themselves. People trust their friends, so they can find out first and about what their friends are buying.
This is exceptionally a beneficial feature for gifts, registries and even just knowing what other people in an individual demographic like. They can also see how people like an item and easily use a pin to buy it for themselves if the original user had favorable results.

Conclusion: Are Buyable Pins Worth It?

For having been released so recently, buyable pins are still a new concept for many people, but as they gain popularity and more people become informed, it will likely skyrocket in use.
More retailers will jump on the bandwagon as having as many platforms as possible for people to access and learn about their products. This is likely the start of something big for a company that already has unprecedented insight into what consumers want and like.
Pinterest has a unique view into what people like and sometimes why they like it, and this gives them a huge benefit as an e-commerce platform. While it may only be in its early days, it has a significant amount of potential.
Boasting over 100 million users, Pinterest is also at a major advantage over other retailers, because there are few other companies that have numbers to that magnitude.
They have a wide demographic of users, whose interests are all very easily classified based off of their pin boards. Essentially, it acts as an online mall, where users can browse for new products, just as they would in a physical mall, or shop at places they know and trust from one central location-Pinterest.
Combined with the amount of users and the products available, it will likely become a symbiotic relationship for consumers, merchants and Pinterest.
As they continue to perfect their platform, and analyze what works, when it works and why it works, it will become an online shopping experience like users have never seen before.