Pinterest rolls out buyable pins

Pinterest has finally introduced the long-promised buyable pins in a move that is expected to significantly impact retail.

In the next few weeks, 30 million Pins on Pinterest will become buyable from brands including Macy's, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Michaels and Gardener's Supply Company.

Anyone searching for a product will see those with a buyable Pin at the top of the search return. Browsers can choose a function to specifically browse items available for direct purchases. They can also choose to save the item in the typical Pinterest way, by pinning it to their page.

Buyable Pins are different than the Promoted Pins, launched earlier this year. Those offered brands an opportunity to get their products in front of potential buyers, but Buyable Pins let users instantly buy or save for later. The Pins are currently only available to iOS users on the iPhone or iPad, as the service is tightly integrated into Apple Pay.

It's a mobile first program.
"Buyable Pins were designed with the mobile shopper in mind and offer a streamlined shopping experience and checkout process through Apple Pay. The ultimate goal being to shorten duration of the shopping process and making it as easy as possible for mobile users to navigate," said Adam Forrest, senior director of Americas marketing at Demandware, an enterprise e-commerce platform partner. "Through Apple Pay, Pinterest users can store account profiles and card information on the app. This creates a similar, automated experience as purchasing on iTunes, where shoppers don't even feel like they're swiping a card at checkout"

Roughly 80 percent of Pinterest's 70 million active users access the site through a mobile device, according to Forrest. "It made sense for Pinterest to launch Buyable Pins on mobile first. Mobile also allows retailers to gain insight into what people are likely to buy over the phone and leverage mobile analytics to determine which items to promote as Buyable on Pinterest."

For retailers, it's going to be a great way to reach shoppers, mine new data and connect with millennials.

A retailer's social media activity has a greater impact on shoppers than the retailer's website, according to new research from Epsilon. One of social media's key strengths is its ability to influence trial of new products and brands. And it's more influential with millennials than it is with boomers.

Shoppers cite Facebook as most influential to their shopping decisions, according to the study. But Pinterest and Google+ also had a strong following.

As Pinterest rolls out buyable pins, a Millward Brown study last month showed 96 percent of users research and gather information on the network, 93 percent use it to plan for purchases and 87 percent have bought something because of Pinterest.

"Social media by its nature involves distraction and nonlinear interaction and may be seen as unpredictable by both marketers and shoppers," said Kim Finnerty, senior VP, research and insights, at Epsilon. "However, our study shows that social media becomes both useful and influential precisely because there are so many ways to interact with it. Social as part of the shopping journey improves the experience and informs the purchase decision."

And now those purchases can be made directly on Pinterest as the new path to purchase takes shape.

For more:
-See this Episilon report
-See this Pinterest announcement

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