Pinterest today said it was acquiring the team behind tote, a shopping app that highlights products suggested by fashion influencers and friends.
The tote founders are joining Pinterest’s growth and monetization team. This isn’t the only talent acquisition Pinterest has made even this month as well: Just last week, Pinterest acquired the team behind the custom keyboard app Fleksy. While Pinterest said it wouldn’t immediately shut down Fleksy, the tote app will be sunset. This appears to be a pretty small acquihire, but it means Pinterest is still open to spending money on talent.
Again, this isn’t going to be an app acquisition — or even a tech acquisition. But Pinterest is going to need to continue to amass people with expertise in commerce, especially as collecting people with wide audiences on other platforms like YouTube and Facebook that are able to attract users across multiple platforms becomes increasingly important. Those influencers are critical to marketers, to the point that entire companies are popping up on the strength of online personalities like Michelle Pham. Her makeup subscription service, ipsy, raised $100 million in a financing round in September.
And if Pinterest is going to continue making improvements to the experience, it’s going to need talent to do that. Literally every second of engagement is important for the company, as increased engagement means an increased likelihood that users will start moving toward the final point of actually buying a product. Started in 2014 year, tote wasn’t a particularly popular product on the App Store — it barely cracked the top 1,500 on the App Store rankings for the shopping section, according to App Annie — but it’s still important that Pinterest finds expertise in these areas.
By moving users down that so-called “funnel”, starting off with the discovery experience and ending in converting to a customer, it’s able to advertise along the way and monetize its user base through its relationships with partners. Each touch point is significant, and Pinterest is known as a service that spans the entire lifetime of a consumer’s purchasing ambitions, from initial awareness, to searching, and all the way to converting into a customer.
tote, obviously, isn’t the only curated shopping app out there. There are others like Hit or Miss, which is more of a Tinder-like experience, and it just shows how much interest there is from larger commerce-driven companies like Pinterest in the curated shopping space as companies look to diverge from traditional e-commerce models like that of Amazon’s.