Social pinning site Pinterest has finally debuted its long-awaited buy button.
Users can shop on the site by clicking on “pinned” products to see the price, choose a color, size, and quantity. Visitors can then click on a buy button to complete the transaction using a credit card or by paying with Apple Pay through their iPhones.
The new “buyable pins,” introduced Tuesday at an event at Pinterest’s San Francisco office, are a big step by the company to become more of a shopping hub. Millions of people already use the site to check out products that others recommend.
According to new research from Millward Brown, 93% of active Pinners said they use Pinterest to plan purchases and 87% said they’ve bought something because of Pinterest.
CEO and co-founder Ben Silberman said that consumers have now added 50 billion pins since the company’s launch and that the number added is growing 75% annually. “People want to buy things on Pinterest,” Silberman said.
Shoppers pay no additional fees to buy items on Pinterest. Additionally, merchants pay no commission to sell. It’s unclear how Pinterest will make money from buyable pins. But it could be trying to gain traction with retailers before starting to charge them fees.
Pinterest says U.S. iPhone and iPad users will start seeing the buy button in late June on millions of items from retailers such as Neiman Marcus, Michael’s craft store, Nordstrom, and Macy’s. Designers selling directly on Pinterest include Kate Spade, and Cole Hahn.
The ability to shop directly from Pinterest is particularly powerful, Silberman said, because of the rise of mobile devices. Around 80% of users access Pinterest through a mobile device, which, because of their small screen size, make it inconvenient to click through to another site to complete a transaction.
Pinterest, which investors have valued at $10 billion, still needs to prove that it can bring in the kind of revenue that other social media companies like Facebook
have been able to generate. Only recently has it really started to focus on making money.
A few weeks ago, Pinterest debuted new ways for advertisers to target customers, as well as an in-house creative agency that created interactive promoted Pins for large advertisers. Early advertisers on Pinterest’s platform include Gap, Target, Old Navy, Kraft, General Mills, and Expedia.
Pinterest says it worked with fast growing payments company Stripe to power much of the buying experience, as well as PayPal’s payments processing arm Braintree.
Facebook is also launching a buy button (also reportedly powered by Stripe). Meanwhile, Twitter partnered with Stripe to power its in-stream buy button last fall.
And on Tuesday, Facebook-owned photo sharing app Instagram also debuted a way for advertisers to include a buy button on ads.
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