It always saddens me when a startup can’t come up with anything more original than advertising. I had high hopes for Pinterest and even though I refuse to use the service (that’s a whole other story and it’s nothing personal against the service), I have watched the service very closely, both out of professional and personal interest.
And while lots of people thought/hoped they’d go the social commerce route, it turns out they’re just going to do more advertising. Oh well.
Initially, everyone thought Pinterest would be a shoo-in to monetize with commerce. After all, Pinterest is a place where people self-define by what they want to own, rather than what they had for lunch or who they are friends with. Look at those conversions! Ladies on Pinterest be shopping! Or something. All Pinterest needed was a “buy” button.
So what happened on the way to becoming a commerce powerhouse? The overhyped social commerce category fizzled out amid several disappointing failures.
Beyond that, studies show Facebook — not Pinterest — still drives the most conversions and highest basket sizes from social media. And even Facebook has been unable to make social commerce work through several attempts. F-commerce was a bust. Gifts started out rocky and hasn’t become a significant part of earnings. Prior to that, Beacon was killed off also.
There are a litany of failed startups that sought to replicate shopping with your friends online. It sounds good, but so far social commerce just hasn’t caught on in practice.