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With Shopify partnership, Pinterest goes from virtual catalog to online shopping site

Given how tailor made the Pinterest user interface is for showcasing products, it was only a matter of time before it started selling things.

By partnering with e-commerce platform Shopify, Pinterest will now be able to drive more than just online referrals, and actually account for direct sales. Shopify is an online platform that enables more than 100,000 client stores to sell their products through it on the web. 

Now, all eligible Shopify stores will have Rich Pins, enabling potential customers to discover the top selling items  and purchase them from the store directly. These Rich Pins will automatically display details such price and availability.

“Many of our 100,000+ stores are makers and creators that sell unique products, so traditional online advertising methods may not always be as effective,” Shopify’s Chief Platform Officer Harley Finkelstein said in a blog post announcing the partnership. “This is why a discovery channel like Pinterest is an essential tool for driving visibility, traffic and revenue.” 

This puts Pinterest on a natural path to become a full fledged e-commerce website. Although it has been courting advertisers with tools such as Promoted Pins and better product showcasing, this new feature will be a true test of how much real value it can drive as a platform. Companies will finally be able to put a hard dollar amount on the value of Pinterest activity. This makes Pinterest the third network (after Facebook and Twitter) to introduce an e-commerce aspect into its social platform, and it signals the next big shift in social media from marketing to sales.

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