Alexandra Dunn

How Pinterest Could Dominate E-Commerce

Apparel is predicted to become the leading category in e-commerce over the next five years as consumers become more comfortable with buy-before-you-try and retailers improve online product info and returns policies. One of the companies best poised to drive this growth is Pinterest, and it seems to be readying itself for action.

Pinterest simulates our love for window shopping and gives users the power to become their own stylist and curator. It plays on our social desires for discovery and interaction by supplementing the experience of online browsing with conversations and relationships, creating a powerful blend of self-curation and social discovery. Basically it’s a shopaholic’s dream come true.


The commercial possibilities of the site are well documented as Pinterest traffics more transactions than Facebook, and its users spend considerably more than Facebook users. Pinterest therefore delivers brands with a better quality audience, and nestles them in a giant forum for discussing, sharing and celebrating products.

The site has now received a $100 million investment led by Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten, which means Pinterest will be looking to further monetize the platform and begin driving direct commerce through the site.

If users are discovering products through Pinterest then leaving the site to make their purchases, there is a huge opportunity to be clipping the ticket along the way. It’s likely Pinterest will start using a version of a Rakuten ID, which is similar to an Apple ID or Amazon ID and is currently being used by 80 million Japanese internet users. This could be embedded into each pin by a Rakuten user, and could then enable users to buy directly from pins, or be directed to Rakuten’s existing store, Rakuten Ichiba

Pinterest could prove a formidable opponent to online fashion retailers as it has built an incredibly large and loyal following that could easily draw customers and brands away from other sites. Smaller brands especially could find huge potential for exposure and sales within a commercial Pinterest site.

There is also huge potential for international growth with the Pinterest platform. Being an image-led platform, unlike Facebook and Twitter which are text-led, it will translate better between cultures and won’t be limited by language barriers. And as Rakuten already has holdings in 17 countries across Europe, the US and Asia it could give Pinterest the finances and scope to achieve a global platform. Mobile will also be on the agenda as 25% of Rakuten sales in Japan are already made from mobile and this proportion is growing.

As Pinterest grows into a global, multi-channel commercial operation, the challenge will then be to maintain integrity as a user-curated site, as opposed to a huge commercial vehicle. As we see Facebook fall further from favour with users and investors every week, the balance of integrity and commercialisation will be key to Pinterest’s longterm success


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Alexandra Dunn The Cloud and Compass Alexandra Dunn
Company: The Cloud and Compass
Position: Content Manager

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