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Pinterest is aiming to make shopping a “core” of the product experience on the visual social platform in 2023, executives said.
On an earnings call to recap the fourth quarter of 2022 on Monday, CEO Bill Ready said 50% of users view Pinterest as a place to shop, and the platform wants to make it easier for them to do so by integrating more shoppable content into the platform's most-used areas.
“In our endeavor to make Pinterest the home of taste-based shopping, we're integrating shopping across our most trafficked surfaces, including home feed, search, and related pins, to show users products most relevant to them,” Ready said. “Over the long term, we also want to make every pin shoppable.”
This will include new technology. Pinterest plans to deploy computer vision to make products and videos shoppable.
It will also include changes to the experience. Pinterest wants to take users directly to a product detail page on a merchant’s app. One way it does this is through mobile deep linking on shopping ads. These helped lead to an 8% increase in visual search shopping relevance.
The approach is showing early results. During Black Friday-Cyber Monday, mobile deep linking accounted for 40% of shopping ads revenue. For the fourth quarter as a whole, shopping ads revenue grew 50% over the same period of 2021.
“I think that is an early indicator of just how much we can do, not only to make more of our content shoppable, but also our ability to drive that full-funnel engagement where we've historically been much stronger at the upper and mid-funnel,” Ready said.
When it comes to consumer categories, Pinterest is seeing particular shopping engagement around women’s fashion and apparel. Ready also sees immediate opportunities in weddings and home redesigns. People seek out Pinterest for ideas, and can end up making purchases.
“We feel like shopping is a broad-based opportunity, while there are some categories that we will lean into first,” Ready said.
The progress caps a year where Pinterest put a strategic focus on shopping with a series of hiring moves and feature upgrades designed for commerce. This included the hiring of Ready as CEO in June. He previously led commerce and payments at Google. Pinterest also acquired AI-powered shopping recommendation platform The Yes in June, and integrated the company’s team and technology. There were signs of shifts taking place recently in the team, as the Yes cofounder Julie Bornstein recently transitioned from chief shopping officer to an advisory role.
The platform pinned shopping in 2022. Look for commerce to become a more obvious part of the Pinterest experience in 2023. Interestingly, Pinterest does not seem to be setting up a “shop” section on the app. Rather, it is making shopping a part of the app sections where its 450 million global monthly active users are already spending time.
It points to an evolution of social commerce. Integrating shopping doesn’t have to mean creating a shop. Rather, it means making existing content shoppable.
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Labor disputes on the West Coast could cause further disruption heading into peak season.
When the first half of 2023 is complete, imports are expected to dip 22% below last year.
That’s according to new data from the Global Port Tracker, which is compiled monthly by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
The decline has been building over the entire year, as imports dipped in the winter. With the spring, volume started to rebound. In April, the major ports handled 1.78 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units. That was an increase of 9.6% from March. Still it was a decline of 21.3% year over year – reflecting the record cargo hauled in over the spike in consumer demand of 2021 and the inventory glut 2022.
In 2023, consumer spending is remaining resilient with in a strong job market, despite the collision of inflation and interest rates. The economy remains different from pre-pandemic days, but shipping volumes are beginning to once again resemble the time before COVID-19.
“Economists and shipping lines increasingly wonder why the decline in container import demand is so much at odds with continuous growth in consumer demand,” said Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett, in a statement. “Import container shipments have returned the pre-pandemic levels seen in 2019 and appear likely to stay there for a while.”
Retailers and logistics professionals alike are looking to the second half of the year for a potential upswing. Peak shipping season occurs in the summer, which is in preparation for peak shopping season over the holidays.
Yet disruption could occur on the West Coast if labor issues can’t be settled. This week, ports from Los Angeles to Seattle reported closures and slowdowns as ongoing union disputes boil over, CNBC reported. NRF called on the Biden administration to intervene.
“Cargo volume is lower than last year but retailers are entering the busiest shipping season of the year bringing in holiday merchandise. The last thing retailers and other shippers need is ongoing disruption at the ports,” aid NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “If labor and management can’t reach agreement and operate smoothly and efficiently, retailers will have no choice but to continue to take their cargo to East Coast and Gulf Coast gateways. We continue to urge the administration to step in and help the parties reach an agreement and end the disruptions so operations can return to normal. We’ve had enough unavoidable supply chain issues the past two years. This is not the time for one that can be avoided.”