Pinterest joins the league of social networks that have started to blur the lines between creating, sharing and exchange of information and commerce. Joining Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google who have delivered or announced “buy buttons”, Pinterest has rolled out what they company calls “a limited test” of enabling pinners to begin buying what they have seen on over 1M boards via ‘buyable pins’.
Social channels have been tending toward commerce at a dramatic rate over the past two years, with the advent of Pinterest rich pins, Facebook Dynamic Product Ads, and various smaller channels – such as Polyvore – putting more emphasis on product discoverability. Consumers have grown accustomed to using social media to seek trending styles and lifestyles to aspire to, and the products and brands that will help them get there. After all, the best product referrals possible are those that come from friends, family, and social influences; the fabric of each consumer’s social network.
Buyable Pins Hail The Age of Social Discovery in Commerce
The numbers clearly point to this trend on Pinterest: according to a recent study by Millward Brown, surveying responses from over 2000 active Pinterest users, 87% have purchased something because of Pinterest in the past 6 months. Every day, nearly 2M people Pin product Rich Pins.
As we enter the age of social discovery in commerce, the ‘buy’ button is a logical next step. With Buyable Pins, Pinterest aims to make it easy for consumers to discover a product, save it to a board and buy it – reducing the friction between “must have” and “just purchased”.
Pinterest has targeted buyable pins to iOS mobile devices initially (Android and Web versions coming later). This is a good move given more than one-quarter of the global population will use smartphones in 2015 (eMarketer). Mobile is now the primary way that consumers shop. Online retail has hit a mobile tipping point with 56% of time spent with a U.S. online retail site taking place on a mobile device (comScore). And, with conversion rates low on both tablets and smartphones, shoppers and sellers can both benefit from a purchase experience that ties product discovery to purchase directly within the same experience.
The commerce experience on Pinterest seems intuitive and simple. While Pinterest has been doing a lot lately to woo brands and businesses to its platform, Buyable Pin are an experience for pinners – not advertisers.
In the short run, brands will need to leverage organic search to make their products discoverable on Pinterest. Good product listings will be critical to success.
Data Quality Remains Crucial
Like any channel where product data drives listings and informs price and inventory status, data quality is paramount. Pinterest will require titles, descriptions, categories, images, UPCs, and other attributes in order to list, operating under the same formatting requirements as the Google Product Feed Specification, but with several differences such as supporting additional images and price ranges. Plus, Pinterest will allow the merchant to optionally include video, tracking, and estimated delivery and return attributes. As with Google Shopping, timeliness and accuracy of product data, inventory and pricing will be key to discoverable, well-indexed products and compelling product listings that drive purchase.
CommerceHub is currently working with a notable retailer to help them syndicate their product catalog as Buyable Pins using our new Basic Custom Feed Builder. Product updates and inventory information are sent automatically. Orders are exported and fulfilled directly between the merchant and Pinterest.
In the Pinterest commerce model, the pinner’s experience in the app is completely native, yet branded by the merchant – the merchant’s name and logo is shown clearly throughout the process.
After the order is sent, the user will get an email from the merchant directly. All follow-up customer support happens directly with the merchant as with any new order. This division of labor between Pinterest and the brand gives the user a easy-to-use experience, the convenience of not re-entering their payment and shipping details with each new order, and creates a relationship between the merchant and their (new) customer. Pinterest is working hard to ensure that the brand owns the relationship with customer – from fulfillment to customer service.
If you are a current CommerceHub customer syndicating product listings to Rich Pins and are interested in expanding to Buyable Pins, we can help. Additionally, our partnership with Demandware will enable you to fully promote and monetize your offering on Pinterest.