Pinterest has just given users a new reason to lighten their wallets.
On Thursday, the image-curating community introduced savings alerts, so you can be notified when a product you’ve previously pinned is suddenly available for a lower price.
At its inception, savings alerts only work with retailers that are already part of Pinterest’s Rich Pins, a program in which companies add code to their sites so Pinterest can scrape them for additional information about pinned products—including when that information changes. According to Pinterest’s business blog, any company that wants into the program can find the necessary code on its developer site.
Pinterest isn’t at its heart a retail network, but it does drive more e-commerce traffic than Facebook, giving its investors high hopes. This latest rollout is an effort to get even the most passive users to consider turning pins into purchases.
More retail oriented competitors, like Fab and Fancy, have slept with one eye open waiting for Pinterest to turn on the cash spigot. Although Pinterest is a site primarily for collecting and curating, not buying, it does have 70 million user accounts. If it chose to turn commercial, it’d instantly be the biggest player in the field.
Savings alerts appear to be a step in that direction, although even if it causes a huge upsurge in purchases, Pinterest won’t profit directly. Instead, it might give the companies pinned there more incentive to drive Pinterest’s already substantial traffic.
Jon Jenkins, lead engineer at Pinterest, said the company currently has no plans to make money off its users. But that doesn't mean it's not above throwing an elbow or two at its rivals.