Pinterest and the art of “possibility driven merchandising”


The sense of discovery in physical stores is hard to replicate online, but a top executive at Pinterest explained there is a way at the recent Path to Purchase Expo.

Of all the challenges operators of physical stores have faced in their online migration one of the most vexing is the concept of merchandising. Once considered an art form, the skillful presentation of merchandise in a physical space could excite shoppers and drive sales. The industry’s best merchants were instinctive but over the course of the past several decades those instincts were applied with greater precision thanks to richer sources of data and ever deeper insights into shopper behavior.

In the online world, the situation is very different and initially the process was more about search and acquire and less about discovery. This situation has changed though as digital capabilities became more sophisticated and allow retailers to replicate physical experiences such as excitement and discovery to engaged shoppers in new ways.

These points were highlighted on Sept. 27 when Brian Monahan, head of vertical strategy at Pinterest, spoke at the Path to Purchase Institute’s annual Path to Purchase Expo (P2PX). He spoke of “experience,” and “possibility driven merchandising,” the type of things normally associate with physical stores, but applied the concepts to the digital environment.

An excellent review of Monhan’s perspective is available from Patrycia Malinowska, an editor with the Institute and Shopper Marketing magazine who attended the event. To learn more about digital merchandising and the possibilities of Pinterest, click here.