What is This “Pinterest” Thing All About?
Pinterest is a social media platform that revolves around metaphorical pin boards. Users can share images and other media content – “pins” – with each other and bundle that content into groupings with common themes – “boards”. When people come across pins from other users that they would like to incorporate into one of their own boards, they can “repin” them, essentially adding them to their own collection. Not too long ago, I created an account of my own to get a better sense of how this works.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I like biscuits. In order to artfully express this opinion in a public manner, I created a “Biscuits” board that includes several repins of biscuit-oriented content from other users’ boards. For any who are inclined to rally behind this righteous cause, they could start following this board (or all of my boards), which would then populate their home feed with flaky goodness.
Okay, That Sounds Great. Can We Sell on Pinterest?
As with any burgeoning social media platform, this question is bound to come up. In the case of Pinterest:
“Yes we can.” – Barack Obama, November 2008
In fact, there are several compelling reasons to list your products on Pinterest.
First and foremost; Pinterest has a large audience that’s growing rapidly. Last year, Pinterest crossed the milestone of having 100 million active monthly users, and the platform isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. The current user base skews toward a younger demographic and primarily consists of women, although it’s worth noting that the number of men using Pinterest more than doubled in 2015.
Additionally, unlike other social media platforms, Pinterest focuses users’ attention on discovering new things and making plans. Research shows that Pinterest users’ vernacular reflects that focus, with words like “use,” “look,” “want,” and “need” appearing much more commonly, in contrast to Twitter mainstays like “lol” and “watching now.” When surveyed, 93% of users admitted that they use Pinterest to help them plan out purchases. That’s huge!
This mindset also leads Pinterest users to spend more, once they’re ready to buy. Shopify and Pinterest claim that customers coming from Pinterest spend, on average, $50 per order – more than customers arriving from any other social media channels.
So, now that you’re excited and ready to sell on Pinterest (or mildly curious, at least), let’s talk about how to make that happen.
Upgrade Your Pins to Rich Pins
While ordinary pins tend to include only an image, a description, and perhaps a link to your company website, Rich Pins are a Pinterest feature that enable you to offer your users additional information to generate more engagement and, eventually, higher conversions. Rich Pins come in many different flavors: article pins include the names of authors and the article’s headlines, recipe pins enable users to list out ingredients and cooking instructions, and so on.
Needless to say, I stumbled into a lot of great biscuit recipes while working on this blog post that were highly distracting.
Given the nature of the e-commerce industry, the Rich Pins that you’ll want to know more about are Product Pins. This type of Rich Pin enables you to include the following information:
- Real time pricing
- Real time availability
- Store Information
In other words, Product Pins are your ticket to sell on Pinterest; for real. Compared to ordinary pins, Rich Pins have significantly higher click through rates. Research shows merchants that enabled Rich Pins, on average, saw a 70% increase in traffic from Pinterest.
Another handy feature of Rich Pins comes in the form of proactive price notifications. Users that repin your products will automatically receive email notifications from Pinterest when you lower the price on those products, making it easier for you to draw attention to your promotions.
In order to work properly, Product Pins need to link directly to the corresponding product’s landing page. Additionally, it’s important to use the canonical URL for the product’s landing page. This can be accomplished by including a canonical URL tag in the link to your site. Companies with feed management software – like CommerceHub – can regularly pass these URLs and other required attributes (like title, price, and currency code) along in a feed to ensure that everything remains accurate and up to date.
Most people like free stuff, so it’s worth mentioning that posting Rich Pins on Pinterest is free! Even when users click on your pins and arrive at your website, you will not be charged.
In June 2016, five of the sellers that we work with derived between 1% and 6% of their total revenue (for their online sales) from Pinterest, and Pinterest did not take a cut.
Buyable Pins Are Pretty Neat, Too
Buyable Pins take things a step further by allowing users to purchase products without leaving Pinterest.
As you can see in the above screenshot with the sassy t-shirt, there is a blue “Add to bag” button included on the pin in addition to pricing and availability information. This bag functions as a shopping cart, and when users are ready to check out, they can use the payment information that they have already provided to Pinterest to complete the purchase. Pinterest has provided case study data to demonstrate that, upon implementing Buyable Pins, several merchants experienced a large increase in sales derived from the platform. Modern Citizen, a retailer based in San Francisco, saw a 73% increase in their sales from Pinterest via Buyable Pins.
This functionality has been present in the iOS and Android Pinterest apps for a while now. And since June 2016, it is available on the Pinterest desktop site as well. Users can seamlessly search for products on their mobile devices, save Product Pins to their boards, and make any final purchasing decisions on their computers at home.
While the purchase itself occurs on Pinterest when Buyable Pins are used, sellers still control the shipping process and the customer service experience. In line with this, Pinterest doesn’t collect any fees from your sales. As mentioned earlier, most people like free stuff, and this lack of fees makes the platform a highly cost effective way for sellers to generate additional sales.
Given Pinterest’s large and growing audience, users’ purchase-oriented mindset, and the lack of any platform fees for posting Rich Pins or Buyable Pins for your products, you should definitely consider incorporating Pinterest into your overall e-commerce strategy. And hey, if you happen to run into any enticing biscuit recipes along the way, that’s just gravy.