Pinterest Looks to Help App Discovery and In-App Purchasing

Social bookmarking service Pinterest is adding new features that will allow people to download new apps and purchase their favorite furnishings and clothing directly from the site or mobile app. Pinterest teamed up with Apple to launch “App Pins” last week, so that users can discover new apps as part of their searches and download them without leaving the Pinterest app. Since the service is used by many for discovery, Pinterest may also integrate a “buy button” into pins as early as this year.

Apple has a repository of 1.4 million apps in the App Store, and it is working with Pinterest to make sure that these apps find their users. Right now, most apps are only seen if they are featured on the App Store’s “featured section.”


Facebook and Twitter also help apps surface, but Pinterest believes that it is the ideal service for app discovery because most of its users already come to the service with the intention of finding new things. Facebook and Twitter, meanwhile, are more for connecting with friends and the larger public.

Pinterest also has a large mobile audience. “More than 75 percent of Pinterest’s use comes from mobile users,” reports The New York Times. Those mobile users with iPhones can take advantage of App Pins and start downloading new apps right away (the app discovery feature only works for iOS apps). In addition, Apple will start curating its own Pinterest account, specifically designed to promote apps on the social network.

Pinterest may also be keeping people on its site and app with the addition of a “buy button.” Currently, people find products they want to buy on Pinterest, but then they have to click through several more pages to find out if or how they can make a purchase. A buy button would cut down the time and hassle between product discovery and product purchase.

Re/code reports the buy button could launch this year, as early as three months from now, but it would likely start as a limited test. The company is currently working on a deal with Stripe to handle the payments processing. Pinterest may eventually use the buy button as part of its advertising options, so that retailers would pay Pinterest to promote Pins with the buy button.

Pinterest’s buy button comes several months after Facebook and Twitter have experimented with the feature. Pinterest is also facing some competition from startups like Fancy, Wish, and Wanelo, which already give users in-app purchasing power. E-commerce giants Amazon and eBay have also tried Pinterest-like layouts to their well-established e-commerce services.

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