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Pinterest may introduce its buy button as early as three to six months from now, according to Re/code sources.
Pinterest’s buy button would allow users to purchase an item they pinned without ever leaving the Pinterest application. The company is “laying the groundwork” for the feature and will likely introduce it as a limited pilot test first, just as it did with promoted pins.
It could potentially be a big source of revenue for the scrapbooking service, but at the same time it will have to manage customer expectations, helping people understand that the companies providing the actual product and shipping experience aren’t related to Pinterest.
The buy button rumors come almost a year after Pinterest introduced guided search, a more robust way of combing through its massive collection of visual images. The feature prompted some, myself included, to wonder whether Pinterest was becoming a search company instead of a social scrapbooking company.
The company just announced it was teaming up with Apple to help facilitate iOS app store discovery, with Apple running its own Pinterest account pinning apps to boards like “healthy recipes” and “fashion.” Once users discover apps they want, they’ll be able to download them straight from Pinterest.
Pinterest is able to offer the kind of search that doesn’t work on Google: Inspiration search instead of fact search. You could type in “quinoa” just to scroll through pictures of quinoa recipes, or type in “hair updo” to discover new ways to put your hair up. It’s a different kind of search than when you already know what you’re looking for, like “how to make quinoa in the microwave” or “Kerastase shampoo for curly hair.”
Pinterest found Google’s search Achilles’ heel, and if it’s able to tie a robust product buy button to its search results, it’s potentially sitting on a lot of cash.