Pinterest is one of the most popular visual discovery engines, and is an important one when it comes to online shopping. We sat down with Tim Weingarten, Head of Shopping Product at Pinterest to discuss how do they make social media so shoppable, and how do they stay ahead of the competition.
With consumers turning to online shopping more than ever before, platforms like Pinterest have found a way to take advantage of the craze of shopping on mobile. Even though other platforms are dabbling in the shopping scene, Pinterest focuses heavily on personalisation and discovery.
“People have always used Pinterest for shopping inspiration, and to discover products and brands whilst they’re in a planning mindset with the intent to buy,” explained Tim Weingarten, Head of Shopping Product at Pinterest. “We’ve spent years developing the platform to make discovery easier for users by serving billions of personalised recommendations for Pinners every day. Because people come in a planning mindset, content from brands is welcomed.”
As a ‘catalogue of ideas’, it’s no surprise that Pinterest is at the forefront of social shopping. In June, the platform released its first ‘Smart Recommendations’ application, named Complete the Look, where users can find further inspiration for the items they’re thinking about purchasing. Pinterest often acts as a springboard for shoppers, who find inspiration and create mood boards for later purchases. With a further push into the personalisation trend, Pinterest sees the future of online shopping with a focus on discovery and personalisation. “We’re continuing to evolve the Pinterest shopping experience and we’re excited to offer new features such as Complete the Look. We want to optimise Pinterest as an environment where people come to engage with brands, with personalised recommendations and easy discovery, and we believe that’s the best way to help shoppers and retailers find value, Mr Weingarten explained.
“We believe the future of shopping will focus on both discovery and personalisation – two aspects we’ve always prioritised on the platform. Because Pinterest is a visual discovery engine, and not a social media site, we’re in a good position to help people discover things to buy and how to style them with a path to purchase. With this type of e-commerce, we’re still at the very early stages of what it can offer and the impact it will have on how consumers shop,” explained Mr Weingarten.
“People on Pinterest are planners and have always come to the platform to find trends, styles and looks as a way to figure out their preferences. This is part of commerce that happens before the buying, the “pre-shopping”. With more than 200 billion ideas that power recommendations on Pinterest, we’re able to learn an individual consumer’s taste over time. The idea of shopping on Pinterest is natural to our platform.”
Brands have found success using Pinterest’s platform, including Aussie fashion label, Koogal. “Pinterest has enabled her business to grow and reach customers across 95 countries. Pinterest’s organic traffic is responsible for 70 per cent of her company’s revenue and 83 per cent of the social traffic to the website. According to Tram, ‘I have a love story with Pinterest. When I started the Koogal business four years ago, I was mostly using other platforms to build my audience, but then one of my Pins on Pinterest took off. It drove crazy traffic to my website and increased sales. I started saving similar ideas and being consistent by pinning every day — that’s the key. I found my ideal audience on Pinterest for my brand and my business became global.’,” Mr Weingarten said.
So, how has Pinterest changed the way consumers see the e-commerce industry? According to Tim Weingarten, Pinterest should help someone find something they love, and easily buy the exact item or something similar at a price point that suits them. “Over the past year, we’ve been making updates to visual search, recommendations and Product Pins to respond to Pinner feedback and make it easy to shop for anything they see on Pinterest. These new features are designed to improve product discovery for shoppers and bring more traffic to retailers as we expect them to show Pinners products that match their style and taste, and help brands reach shoppers while they’re actively looking to buy,” he said.
Pinterest has just opened a Singapore office, in order to push the APAC presence. With such further expansions, the social media platform is releasing new ways to encourage users to shop on their mobile with the latest AI-enabled tech. “Pinterest is a personalised shopping platform powered by visual search and discovery. Thanks to years of investing in computer vision, we’re able to show visually similar ideas, and recommendations based on the overlapping interests of other people on the platform, Weingarten explained. “We’ve been launching new shopping features to make Pinterest more shoppable than ever– including shoppable Product Pins, Catalogs, personalised shopping recommendations and Shop the Look. We want you to be able to shop for any item you see on Pinterest.”
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