Pinterest is the latest platform to dive headfirst into livestream shopping.
On Monday, Pinterest announced the creation of Pinterest TV, made up of in-app live and original shoppable programming. The 30-minute episodes will kick off on November 8 and are available to iPhone app users every Monday through Friday at 6 p.m. Eastern Time in the U.S. Episodes focus on different lifestyle topics, including food, home, fashion and beauty. On Pinterest TV, hosts will have access to a shopping toolbox to enable live shopping experiences. Available tools include a carousel display at the bottom of the screen featuring prices and product details, a product pop-up feature, an option to display the number of products still available, and a limited-time offer module to offer discounts. Hosts can tag products so viewers can shop and purchase on the retailers’ sites.
David Temple, Pinterest head of emerging products, said Pinterest’s approach to livestream shopping is about building an online ecosystem that creates an “enriching” environment rather than a “draining” one.
“Folks come to Pinterest with a different mindset. They’re interested in exploring their interests and ideas that are personal to them. They’re not in a social [media] space where they’re seeing baby pictures and political rants,” he said. “We built Pinterest TV in a different way, to try and foster that sort of enrichment.”
Pinterest’s approach is closer to a QVC or HSN environment than an Instagram or Facebook live offering. Instead of brands and individuals selecting whenever they want to livestream a shopping event, Pinterest hand-selects brands based on their popularity on Pinterest and interest in Pinterest TV. It also enlists creators to be moderators. Pinterest has an eight-person all-female production team, Temple said. Viewers can also rewatch episodes later. Specific beauty programming includes a weekly Thursday show with influencer Manny MUA called “Manny Does,” where he will recreate the most-searched beauty trends on Pinterest and show Pinterest users how to create the looks themselves. Fridays consist of a show called “Buy This,” hosted by comedian Robyn Schall and Pinterest creators. It’s set to showcase companies like makeup brand Mented and hair-care brand Crown Affair. This will be the first livestream shopping event for Crown Affair, while Mented debuted on HSN in Jan. 2020 and has hosted its own IG Live shopping events.
“One thing we know about Pinterest is that Pinterest users are incredibly engaged and love to discover, contribute and send pins to their friends,” said KJ Miller, co-founder and CEO of Mented, who will be joining the brand’s live segment on Nov. 19. “Pinterest TV is going to allow us to connect directly [with Pinterest users]. We usually connect indirectly, as our content is UGC-focused, or influencer-focused.”
Mented’s customers are predominately women of color who are 25- to 55-years-old, said Miller. Though Mented uses Pinterest to publish creative content, it does not invest in Pinterest ads. And the brand historically has not focused on Pinterest as a commerce opportunity, Miller said. She said the format of Mented’s Pinterest TV appearance will be informed by its HSN appearance and will focus on storytelling and product benefits, rather than clinicals or the science behind the products. Meanwhile, Mented’s IG Live shopping events are usually about product and makeup tutorials, rather than conversion and sales tactics.
According to Pinterest’s internal data, there has been a 20x increase in searches for products to buy on Pinterest over the past year. What’s more, Pinterest users are over 7x more likely to purchase products they’ve saved.
Pinterest has launched several newer features over the last 15 months to achieve such statistics. In Sept. 2020, the social media site launched a flurry of “creator-first” functions called “Story Pins,” akin to Instagram or Snapchat stories, to harness the power of content creators. In May, it hosted its first online three-day festival, which was live-streamed. In August, Pinterest added the ability to add shopping links within Story Pins, before expanding the shopping toolbox for merchants and brands in September. Separately, Pinterest was caught up in buyout rumors involving both PayPal and Microsoft this year.
Temple said that initial key performance indicators include understanding whether Pinterest TV is useful to users, if content creators find it satisfying, and if merchants and brands see value in it as a sales opportunity.