Will Pinterest-like Lists Work for Amazon?

Discussion
Aug 05, 2013

Amazon has quietly unveiled Collections, a Pinterest-like section where customers can save, share and discover new products on the site.

Collections allows users to post photos of products they like or have purchased on Amazon and organize them into categories like books, men’s fashion, music or DVDS as well as more open-ended categories such as "My Style," "Want List," and "Possibilities." They can find and follow other users who share their same interests. Links to Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter encourage users to share products.

Not surprisingly, users can click to easily buy any product they see. Unlike Pinterest, only Amazon products can be saved in Collections.

"This new test feature is just one of the many ways we are working to help our customers discover and share new things," an Amazon spokeswoman told The Seattle Times.

"Obsessed with data, Amazon likely would benefit as well from learning more about what its users intend to buy but never do," wrote Greg Bensinger on The Wall Street Journal’s Digits blog. "That could help them with targeting product pitches and pricing, among other strategies."

Writing for TechCrunch, Sarah Perez noted that this is the first time Amazon has duplicated the look and feel of a competing service. She said the move "to some extent, validates the traction Pinterest is seeing with e-commerce referrals. The move also comes at a time when Pinterest has been beefing up its e-commerce efforts, with new tools for online retailers, including web and mobile product pins, analytics, personalized recommendations, and, just today, price alerts."

Last week, Pinterest rolled out a new price drop notification system that alerts users via email when items they like see a price reduction.

Many retailers, particularly fashion ones, are choosing set up pages on Pinterest and paying the social site commission. Like Amazon, eBay also unveiled a Pinterest-like function on its homepage last year and Facebook is also testing a "Collections" feature of its own.

What are the pros and cons for retailers of creating their own Pinterest-like sections versus working directly with Pinterest? How appealing do you expect Amazon’s Collections section will be consumers?

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11 Comments on "Will Pinterest-like Lists Work for Amazon?"

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Dick Seesel
BrainTrust

Amazon continues to find ways to engage consumers, and this section will appeal to Millennial shoppers who seem to respond to visual rather than verbal cues. And, of course, Amazon will use as much data as it can collect from this new “community” to drive some of its merchandising decisions.

Anne Howe
BrainTrust

I’m not sure consumers are obsessed with Amazon to this degree. I’m a regular online shopper, and an Prime member, so I do buy from Amazon quite frequently.

However, saving only items you can find on Amazon is not gonna cut it for me. There’s another option at Pixsi.com that’s more open and way more shopper centric.

Ken Lonyai
BrainTrust

It is an interesting move—Amazon essentially knocking off an upstart. They may have done so for small features in the past, but this is at an obvious scale. We’ll see how successful this is over time, or if it becomes another tested and abandoned feature, like the A9 search engine. Nevertheless, I think it will signal that Pinterest has a valid model and unleash a flood of other copycats, where it’s anyone’s guess is if it will strengthen or weaken Pinterest’s position.

Zel Bianco
BrainTrust

Last week we saw Pinterest reveal a more retailer-friendly option that directly competes with Amazon, so the response from Amazon is not surprising. The cons for retailers is that they’re losing out on the ground work and following Pinterest already has. People are looking to streamline and simplify, so an extra site to organize and edit might backfire. Companies like Nordstrom that are working within the Pinterest site are already winning marketing points with promoting most pinned items.

The Collections section might help Amazon give better targeted ads so for that we can be grateful. They are large and strong enough for Collections to gain traction.

Shep Hyken
BrainTrust

I like Pinterest for retail because of the visual and the interaction with customers. If Amazon or any other retailer decides to create their own version of Pinterest, they should consider continuing to participate in the original. It’s not likely that a customer/consumer will stop looking at Pinterest just because their favorite retailer has a similar program.

Ryan Mathews
BrainTrust

The problem in this case is that Amazon is a transactional site, not a social network. Maybe it could have evolved that way in the first place, but it seems a stretch at this point.

Camille P. Schuster, PhD.
BrainTrust

For those who rely on Amazon, have friends who rely on Amazon, and want a community connection on Amazon, this approach is likely to be quite successful. However, all three of conditions are necessary. The same set of conditions would be true for other websites experimenting with this approach.

Lee Kent
BrainTrust

With today’s very visual shopper, retail ecommerce sites adding collection boards could become the norm. Will these boards mean that the retailer no longer needs to participate on sites such as Pinterest? No!

This tech savvy consumer likes to curate from all over the net, not just one brand!

As for Amazon, the same comments apply to them, but I know that Amazon, unlike other retailers, will be able to spin that data into something that will provide value to the consumer. Therein lies the difference.

Ralph Jacobson
BrainTrust

We are still in the “Primordial Soup” stage of social channels, so time will tell which channels rise to the top for a period of more than five years (remember, MySpace was the leader at one point). The fewer sites a shopper or a blogger has to visit, the better. The advantage will go to the one-stop site that has simple, compelling interfaces to handle the most popular social functions (posting text, pictures, IM, etc.)

Kenneth Leung
BrainTrust

I don’t see people using Amazon as a social media hub (“Check out my selfie on Amazon” just doesn’t sound right…), but I can see this as a new way of displaying gift registries for special occasions. I don’t know too many brands/retailers other than Apple that have enough social stickiness to attract customers to affiliate themselves to the brand socially.

Brian Fletcher
Guest
Brian Fletcher
4 years 15 days ago

I think there are two primary benefits of Amazon creating their own Pinterest-like section:

  • It’s an additional way to connect and build relationships with consumers
  • It enables Amazon to capture additional data about their consumers wants/needs/likes which puts them in an even better position to communicate and develop customized recommendations that are relevant to their consumers

I would expect there to be good interest from Amazon’s consumers. These consumers appear to be engaged in online shopping and technology and seem to like to share their perspectives as evidenced by all the reviews Amazon’s products have.

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