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Pinterest earns investment from e-commerce head

22 May 2012 - 09:57 by Mike Price

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Social networking service, Pinterest, which has risen to prominence in recent months, has received a £63 million cash injection, courtesy of Hiroshi Mikitani.

Mr Mikitani is the man who is responsible for running Rakuten Ichiba, Japan's biggest retailer in the e-commerce sector, which suggests that he sees some potential in the idea of integrating safe shopping online with the features of Pinterest.

Mr Mikitani spoke out about the investment, stating that he wants to make online retail as much fun as possible for consumers. He said that too many sites offered an automated, sterile and ultimately, boring type of service, which could be amended through social tools.

For those who have yet to encounter Pinterest, it is essentially a site that encourages people to create pinboards of the online content which they find interesting. This can then be shared with friends and the wider online community, with themes usually dictating individual collections.

Like other social networking sites, it is possible to interact with Pinterest boards and indicate that you enjoy the work of the creator.

While Twitter and, to a certain extent, Facebook, are all about text-based interaction, Pinterest is a far more visual experience. This makes it better suited to the world of safe shopping online, because it means products and services can engage with consumers through images, rather than bland prose.

In fact without the influence of brands and retailers, users of Pinterest have already fostered an environment in which products are a core feature of the site. As such, it could be even easier to utilise in the e-commerce world.

Social networking sites are struggling to monetise their users and many believe that e-commerce integration is the only way that companies like Facebook can justify their high valuations on the markets.