Possibly an attempt to generate affiliate revenue through user pinned content, Pinterest is planning on launching a “Buy” button on the site that will give users the ability to purchase items without actually leaving Pinterest. Aiming for an unnamed 2015 release date within the next six months, the company will likely run a trial of the service with users to gauge interest. Assuming users actually purchase items through Pinterest using the new functionality, the social network could take a small percentage of those sales through affiliate relationships with retailers.
First reported by Re/code, Stripe is reported to handle all currency transactions. This is the same service that’s being used by Twitter and Facebook to process purchases. Hypothetically, retailers will be able to take significant advantage of a purchasing function on the company’s official Pinterest page. For instance, a brand like L.L Bean could add the Buy button to all products and attempt to generate sales within the 5.3 million users that follow the company’s page.
It’s likely that Pinterest will limit usage of the Buy button to retailers that are capable of fulfilling orders promptly and leave all communication about the order up to the retailer. Opening up the purchasing function to a larger audience, such as Etsy or eBay sellers, could become problematic due to a larger number of logistics issues with order fulfillment.
It’s also likely that Pinterest will have a significant focus on mobile platforms when launching the Buy button, specifically because 75 percent of all traffic to the site comes through smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices.
When asked about the new Buy button, a Pinterest representative declined to comment to Re/code. Instead, the representative released a statement which read “Part of our strategy to help people discover new things, save them, and do these things in real life has always been to make Pins more useful.”