August 1, 2013, 11:34 AM

Pinterest lets users know when an item’s price drops

The social network sends shoppers e-mails when retailers lower the prices on their ‘pins.’

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Pinterest price alerts

Pinterest has long served as a social network where shoppers can gather items they aspire to purchase. Now it is helping shoppers find a bargain.

The social network today began rolling out price alerts, in which it automatically e-mails shoppers when a retailer drops the price of an item that she has “pinned.” Consumers can select how often they want to receive price drop e-mails in their user settings.

Pinterest is the social network where consumers can “pin” images and pictures of products they like from around the web. They often accompany those pins with a brief description or caption that appears below the image. Consumers add their pins to boards, organizational tools used to group pins together around a particular theme—for example, “What I need to bring to Cape Cod.”

“You know that giddiness you get when something you’ve wanted forever is suddenly a little (or maybe a lot) cheaper? Well, we’re bringing that saving feeling to Pinterest!” wrote Jeffrey Warren, a software engineering intern, in a blog post.

Pinterest says that price alerts are the next step in the evolution of “product pins,” an enhanced pin the social network debuted in May that shows users more information about the items for sale that shoppers “pin” in the network, such as where they can buy a product, its price and availability. The service is free to retailers.

Pinterest says it will automatically send price alerts for retailers’ items if the merchant uses product pins. Merchants that use a Pinterest business account can apply on Pinterest’s developer page to use product pins.

It says there are tens of millions of product pins and retailers using them include Wal-Mart, No. 4 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, The Home Depot Inc., No. 46, ModCloth Inc., No. 366, and Target Corp., No. 18.

Comparison shopping engine TheFind in 2012 began offering similar price drop e-mail alerts to consumers using its social shopping app Glimpse. Consumers can opt to get an e-mail alert sent to them whenever products they’ve Liked, using the Facebook Like button, go on sale.   

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