Re/Code broke the news this week that Pinterest might be launching a “Buy” button as soon as this year, which is sooner than expected. No official date has been set and there’s only speculation about the timeframe and rollout. Although we suspect Pinterest does not want to be left too far behind Facebook and Twitter, who recently launched similar ecommerce targeted efforts.
The concept of a Buy button on Pinterest is not surprising at all. Pinterest controls 23% of referral traffic to ecommerce sites and its users are 10% more likely to make a purchase than people arriving from other social network sites. Many people use Pinterest as a source of inspiration; whether it’s for fashion, interior design or crafts, users are in a buying mindset when “pinning”. Because of this, a Buy button and retailer partnerships are logical next steps for Pinterest.
However, questions about the implications of a Pinterest Buy button still need to be answered. The Buy button would be very different from the eCommerce efforts of Facebook and Twitter. It’s speculated that Pinterest will process payments from buyers and use the vendors as drop-shippers. If Pinterest follows this model and pulls it off they will be in direct competition with the likes of Amazon. Pinterest might be able to operate as a “virtual mall” in the very near future, but it could face some very real challenges in the process.
From a fulfillment perspective, Pinterest will have to carefully consider how and which retailers they partner with. Although a retailer may be technically responsible for fulfillment, Pinterest and its partners will have to address the matter of who’s going to be the first line of customer support, how will consumers handle returns, managing credits, handling loyalty rewards, and, the biggest one, Pinterest’s vendor selection criteria.
Another significant factor is the Pinterest aesthetic. For now its aesthetic sets it apart from eCommerce sites. It’s simple layout without distracting text is ideal for users employing it as a tool for sparking inspiration and creativity. It’s important that Pinterest maintain this simple but powerful user experience or risk driving away their fan base. For retailers, this aesthetic is also an important factor to keep in mind. 68.4% of top pinners agree that merchandise displayed in lifestyle/editorial image gets repinned more often than images from a plain white background.
Pinterest and it’s foray into eCommerce differs from other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter in that it tows a much closer line to eCommerce sites. This line is what gives Pinterest a leg up, but it’s also what could set them back if not executed right. They need to keep the distinction between eCommerce and Social Media in order to avoid alienating a loyal fan base. If they do it right, they might just start a new trend in Social Commerce.
What do you think the implications or Pinterest’s Buy button are? As a retailer would you consider utilizing it?
Don’t forget to check back next Wednesday for more Pinterest talk with the third instalment of our Effective Use of Social Media for eCommerce: Pinterest Edition.