When it comes to social networks with the greatest potential to drive revenue for brands, Pinterest has been at or near the top of the list for some time.
Yesterday, the company took a big step in the direction of realizing that potential when it announced Buyable Pins.
In a post on the Pinterest blog, Pinterest engineering manager Chao Wang described how Buyable Pins will work:
When you spot a Pin with a blue price, you’ll know you can buy it right from the app. Searching for something specific? Use the price filter to hone in on just the right Pin.
You can also find the right color for you, within the Pin itself. See how you feel about the orange sleeping bag, or maybe the black one. Swipe through all your options and pick your favorite.
Once a user has located the perfect product, Pinterest will faciliate the purchase without forcing the user to leave the Pinterest experience.
Pinterest says that the entire Buyable Pin experience from product selection to payment has been designed with mobile in mind.
At launch, Pinterest is working with a handful of major brands, including Macy’s, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom.
Retailers that host their stores with Shopify can also use Buyable Pins by adding the Pinterst channel to their accounts. In the coming weeks, retailers using Demandware will also be able to take advantage of Buyable Pins.
Pinterest is working with Apple Pay and other payment processors to handle payments. Shipping, fulfillment and customer service are handled by retailers, and not Pinterest.
Interestingly, Pinterest is initially not taking a cut of Buyable Pin sales. According to the New York Times, Pinterest is instead going to monetize its new ecommerce functionality by selling Promoted Pins to retailers so that they can advertise their wares to the company’s more than 75 million monthly users.
While it’s not surprising that Pinterest is finally moving to come up with ways to drive retail sales and monetize them, the fact that it chose to build functionality that enables transactions to take place directly within the Pinterest experience highlights that the transactionalization trend is just getting started.
While transactionalization isn’t without its challenges and risks, retailers and services businesses would be wise to keep an eye on offerings like Buyable Pins and start considering how to prepare their companies to best serve customers transacting with them through third party platforms.