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Amazon’s Zappos Combines Pinterest and E-Commerce in New Site

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Aug. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc.’s Zappos online store has created a service that recommends purchases based on what users post on Pinterest, a move to parlay the popularity of the social-sharing site into e-commerce sales.

The new Web page, created by a team at Zappos Labs in San Francisco, is called PinPointing and suggests Zappos products, such as shoes, dresses and swimsuits, based on Pinterest posts. Consumers can see suggestions that correlate with their own personal pins or those of other Pinterest users.

Pinterest Inc., based in Palo Alto, California, operates a social-networking site that lets users collect and share photos on the Internet by pinning them to a virtual bulletin board. Zappos is using the social site to help shoppers discover its breadth of products through friends and celebrities and debunk its reputation as solely a seller of shoes.

“Social shopping is a total buzzword that people throw around, but I don’t think any big brands have cracked it,” said Will Young, director of Zappos Labs, a group of developers in charge of spearheading online projects to improve the Zappos user experience. “When we talk to people and ask what they think is the best social-shopping experience, they say Pinterest, and it’s not even a retailer.”

Pinterest has seen a surge in user growth since it was introduced in 2010, and had 11.7 million visitors as of January. It raised $100 million in a financing round that valued the company at about $1.5 billion, a person with knowledge of the matter said in May. Investors include Max Levchin, a founder of EBay Inc.’s PayPal; Bessemer Venture Partners; and Japanese e-commerce site Rakuten Inc.

Pinterest Approval

While Zappos got approval from Pinterest for the PinPointing site, the companies aren’t officially teaming up, Young said in an interview.

Zappos already lets users share what they buy through Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc. and Pinterest. While consumers share more often on Pinterest than on the other two social networks, sales from Pinterest posts contribute the smallest amount of revenue, Young said.

Zappos users were 13 times more likely to share a purchase on Pinterest than on Twitter and 8 times more likely to share on Facebook than Twitter, Young said. Even so, posts on Twitter brought in the most revenue -- an average of $33.66 an order -- while Facebook posts garnered $2.08 per order and sales from Pinterest were 75 cents on average, he said.

“Even if a person has 100,000 followers on Pinterest and she pins something to a board called ‘Stuff I Love,’ that’s not as big a deal as an endorsement tweeted to 10,000 followers,” Young said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Danielle Kucera in San Francisco at dkucera6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net

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