Pinterest set to overhaul platform in bid to attract new users

Digital scrapbooking company has faced challenges of late

Pinterest’s new AR Try on feature in action.

Pinterest’s new AR Try on feature in action.

 

Digital scrapbooking platform Pinterest is set to overhaul its site and apps, introducing new tools such as augmented reality and a new “watch” tab to inspire creativity as it tries to engage users.

The home feed will now be split into “browse” and “watch”. The former is closer to the current Pinterest experience, with the “Watch” tab adding a full-screen feed of idea pins users can scroll through and engage with.

The company said it would also bring in a new “Takes” feature, that would allow users to respond to a creator’s idea with their own idea pin. It has enlisted celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez, Megan Thee Stallion, Nicola Coughlan and Olly Alexander to share their own idea pins and encourage users to respond.

Pinterest will also enlist augmented reality in a bid to make pins more “shoppable”. AR Try on is a feature that allows users to test out beauty products such as lipstick through an AR lens, so users can buy products through the Pinterest post.

Pinterest also has a “shop similar” recommendation feature, which implements visual search technology to recommend similar product pins.

The move comes at a troubled time for the platform. Pinterest, which went public in April 2019, prospered during the pandemic when people stuck at home spent more time online. The stock hit an all-time high in February, but has since fallen more than 40 per cent, as usage has slowed with the pandemic’s easing and concerns have surfaced about user growth.

Last week, co-founder Evan Sharp said he was stepping down from the company to join Jony Ive’s LoveFrom design firm. Mr Sharp was Pinterest’s chief design and creative officer, and has overseen the product and design teams for the platform since 2011.

Accusations

Pinterest is also dealing with a number of accusations from former employees that the company discriminated against female workers. It paid $20 million (€17 million) to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit filed by former COO Francoise Brougher last December. That case followed public complaints by two black women who left Pinterest earlier in the year who said the company underpaid them and that their own discrimination claims were ignored by human resources.

A pension fund also sued the company and a group of executives and board directors on behalf of shareholders in late 2020, accusing Pinterest of “illegal discrimination”.

The investor alleged a breach of fiduciary duty and abuse of control, among other claims, and said the concerns stemmed from discrimination on the basis of race and sex of the company’s employees. Subsequent lawsuits have followed. – Additional reporting: Bloomberg