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Could Pinterest be Amazon’s next big competitor?

Pinterest has added new features this year that imply they have their eye on ecommerce – could they be eBay and Amazon’s next big competitor?

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Pinterest adds price alerts

Pinterest has long been a site that is geared towards user aspirations – things like planning to try out a new recipe next week, implementing a new workout regime or pining after outfits that you hope to mimic one day. In order to make user pins more actionable, the company has added a price alert capability that will send an email to a user when a particular item that they have pinned drops in price. Now users can actually monitor the prices of the items they love and make purchases from their collections of carefully curated pins.

This added functionality brings up the question of whether Pinterest could one day become a competitor to sites like Amazon and eBay, both of which are hugely popular for their vast inventories and ability to recommend other items of interest based on past purchase history. And while many people visit Amazon and eBay for a specific item that they are looking for, there are also a lot of purchases that happen by happenstance, just jumping from category to category and looking at things that catch your eye, similar to browsing on Pinterest.

Could Pinterest take on Amazon?

By adding price alert capabilities, I do think that Pinterest could eventually compete with Amazon and eBay, but it will take some time to scale to the number of transactions that come through these sites on a daily basis.

One advantage that Pinterest does have over these giants is that its searches provide a richer, social experience that isn’t available elsewhere: for example, type in “jump rope” and it pulls up pins that link to sites like REI where you can purchase a jump rope, as well as pins with jump rope workouts, memes, crafts and other related content that users can browse through and share with followers. The site essentially aggregates a story board around the things that users are interested in, and the alerting feature will now enable them to take action on those interests beyond the act of pinning.

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The new capability will ultimately transform Pinterest from a site where users go to fantasize, to a place where they can monitor price changes and jump on purchases that fit their budgets. The aspirational aspect is still there, but price alerting will help users bring their wishes into reality by monitoring the ebb and flow of price fluctuations in the e-commerce marketplace and jumping in when the time is right.

Destiny Bennett is a journalist who has earned double communications' degrees in Journalism and Public Relations, as well as a certification in Business from The University of Texas at Austin. She has written stories for AustinWoman Magazine as well as various University of Texas publications and enjoys the art of telling a story. Her interests include finance, technology, social media...and watching HGTV religiously.

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