I once read that one of the reasons people love shopping is that it is an activity that keeps you in the here and now. Like skydiving. Or sex. We crave the chance to be present (consciously or not) and shopping is an easy way to hook in. You aren't thinking about the laundry or emptying the dishwasher or your To Do list. You are just walking around, taking in the visual sights and sounds, maybe fantasizing about how awesome you would look in that Marc by Marc Jacobs shirt.
Until recently, that experience was not available online. You had to know what you were looking for and be somewhat specific in a search box. Google and Amazon aren't really made for browsing, they are made for finding.
But Pinterest changed all that. Its visual architecture invites you to browse for hours. Most "pinners" admit that they lose track of time on the site and the average visit on Pinterest in the US is nearly 16 minutes. That is gold people. Solid gold. Now we can browse in the comfort of our jammies, with our favorite show or music playing, and a delicious adult beverage by our side.
The numbers show that pins with a price are liked on average 1.5 times vs. 1.1 for pins without a price. So we're looking at stuff because it's beautiful to look at, but we're also open to buying that stuff and on Pinterest the average purchase is almost $180, way above Facebook's $80 average and $69 from Twitter. I'm telling you - solid gold.
Part of what makes Pinterest such a great experience is that there are a lot of people spending a lot of time curating their pages with lovely things. This act of curation is what makes a boutique shopping experience (and the Apple Store) so enjoyable. Fewer choices make my experience easier and I can really live in the moment.
Pinterest design is now influencing all sorts of shopping sites. For people like me who don't always have gobs of time to browse (online or off), my tasteful friends at Fab, Opensky, One King's Lane and The Foundary keep my inbox filled with beautifully curated stuff, all on sale. So now we have made the leap from not just curating cool and beautiful stuff, but finding it's all on sale!
I was never a very good bargain shopper and never clipped coupons, but between the tasteful selections in my inbox, the Friends & Family offers from my favorite big retailers like Bloomingdales, and the endless 20-30% off emails from The Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy, I don't have to work very hard to never buy anything at full price again. Except for Apple products. That shit never goes on sale.