Pinterest Invests in Shopping Tech to Retain Platform’s Merchants


Pinterest is reportedly adjusting its retail strategy as ads become a key revenue source.

Bill Watkins, the social media platform’s chief revenue officer, said in an Axios report Wednesday (April 12) that Pinterest was investing in technology that will “drive the best shopping experience fulfilled by merchants that are already on our platform.”

With users “coming with purpose and they’re coming with intent,” as Watkins put it, the company is investing in computer vision, machine learning and artificial intelligence to help personalize shopping, and facilitate consumer behavior.

“When you take a look at what they’re doing on the platform, it’s categories that you really can’t engage with absent retail,” Watkins told Axios, adding that shopping ad catalogs account for Pinterest fastest-growing revenue stream.

The report notes that Pinterest has jettisoned plans for a direct checkout solution, something company officials had spoken of testing last year in a bid to become more “shoppable.”

Instead, Pinterest is using mobile deep linking to transmit users straight to the checkout function on the merchant’s app, thus avoiding the “friction of multiple clicks,” said Watkins.

Last month, Pinterest announced it was adding shopping capabilities to Shuffles, its standalone, collage-making app, allowing users to tap each item in a collage to see its brand, its price and other similar products.

Unlike other product exploration tools, “Shuffles bring an interactivity that makes the experience fun,” Pinterest said. “Gen Z is curating fresh, relevant content, which is quickly making for a marketplace of trendy, shoppable ideas.”

The company’s latest news came the same day that Singapore’s Shopline announced plans to expand its commerce services platform for selling on social media to Europe, opening a new office in London to complement ones in Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan and Australia.

“Selling directly on social media has rewritten the eCommerce playbook on how brands are engaging with their customers,” Shopline UK General Manager Deepak Anand said in a news release. “As a global talent hub, London is the perfect fit for Shopline to lead the transformation of European retail while enabling unique shopping experiences that are supporting our customer’s commerce vision.”

Research by PYMNTS late last year showed that online sellers would seek to focus more specifically on social media channels during 2023, with 47.9% of online sellers planning to increase their reliance on social media channels such as Instagram or TikTok.

According to “Online Sellers: The Future is Multichannel,” a social media presence is all but mandated in the current online retail space and many alternatives have become on the market with expanded eCommerce offerings.

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