Pinterest and the Future of Shoppable Content

People browse Pinterest for inspiration on recipes, fashion, home décor, health and wellness, travel and much more. But in the future, that browsing could easily turn into shopping. Pinterest is leading the charge for smooth, shoppable content—the future of retail and customer experience.

According to Dutta Satadip, Chief Customer Officer at Pinterest, the company tries to strike the balance between knowing when to personalize and when to scale. Customers want relevant recommended content, but they also want access to a wide range of ideas. Most customers come to Pinterest to find something, so Pinterest is moving in the direction of not only showing users the content they are looking for, but also making it seamless to instantly purchase that item. The vision of shoppable content is that in the future, every pin is a starting point for shopping. Instead of simply using Pinterest as a way to get inspired, users will be able to seamlessly go from pin to purchase and trust that they will get high-quality products.
Although it might seem like a relatively simple problem, Satadip says it is actually quite complicated.

One of the big obstacles to overcome is when Pinterest users find images on the site but don’t know where to actually buy those items. They may see a great beauty product or piece of furniture, but clicking through the image doesn’t take them to a place where they can buy it. Pinterest and its advertisers are working together to eliminate friction and drive more shoppable content.

To do so, Pinterest is making sure its shoppable links are for reputable sites. Satadip says Pinterest doesn’t want to connect customers to vendors that don’t sell high-quality merchandise or don’t portray an accurate representation of their products. If a customer clicks through Pinterest to purchase a clothing item, Pinterest wants to make sure that what the customer ends up getting matches the original image. To that end, Pinterest created its Verified Merchant Program. Once a seller has been verified as trustworthy, they receive a checkbox by their name so that customers know the brand is trusted. The program is a win for both customers and retailers because verified retailers can get wider distribution, and customers can purchase with confidence. Building trust is the first step to making customers feel more comfortable clicking through an image and giving their credit card information.

The future of shoppable content comes from finding the balance between personalization and scale. High-quality items have to be scaled to be available to everyone across a wide range of topics, but users also want personalized recommendations to purchase things that match their lifestyle. Satadip says Pinterest is working on finding the balance between high-touch services, such as the white glove Verified Merchant Program, and tech-touch services that use data to scale product recommendations. The secret to building strong shoppable content is to combine humans and technology—both sides are needed to give users a frictionless experience.

As the line between social networks and shopping blurs, shoppable content will appear on many platforms. Pinterest is setting the stage to play a major role in shoppable content that is as smooth as it is beautiful.

This week’s podcast is sponsored by Zendesk.

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Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker and the author of the bestselling book The Customer Of The Future. Sign up for her weekly newsletter here.

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