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Pinterest could become powerful e-commerce player

28 May 2015 - 14:35 by David Aiken

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A recent study of Pinterest users by BI Intelligence has revealed that the influential nature of this social network is already having a big impact on consumer shopping habits, according to Business Insider.

Seventy five per cent of people who take advantage of Pinterest's bulletin board-style approach to sharing said that they had either made a purchase as a result of seeing something on the site, or visited the website or real world outlet of a particular brand.

This means that there is huge potential pent up in Pinterest, which could be unleashed if it decides to adopt its own dedicated e-commerce capabilities.

Google recently announced plans to add a 'buy' button to its mobile search results and it seems likely that Pinterest will eventually take the same route with its own site. Although the process of integrating e-commerce with a platform which is as necessarily varied and diverse as Pinterest, may be quite a challenge to get right.

More than half of respondents to the study said that Pinterest played an active role in determining which products they want to buy. And because much of the content is catalogued by users, people can tailor the experience to their own tastes.

This is precisely the kind of customisation that existing retailers offering safe shopping online have been trying to adopt in their own platforms. And the user-driven nature of Pinterest means that people will feel that they are getting impartial coverage of products, rather than being stuck reading the bland descriptions provided by manufacturers.

Pinterest's journey from social media phenomenon to e-commerce giant may not come to fruition in the next few months, but industry observers are already predicting that it will make the leap sooner rather than later, which will no doubt worry retailers.