Pinterest has always been the online destination for browsing products, but, up until June of this year, there was no actual purchase option for users. This has meant that, although the site has been evidently useful for Pinners in order to research the products that they might like to buy, actual Pinterest-enabled conversions have not been as spectacular as they might have been
93% of Pinterest users use the platform to plan purchases. – that’s an incredible statistic brought to us from the Shopify blog, and certainly one that all social media marketers should sit up and take notice of – especially if its physical products (as opposed to services) that your company is peddling. Check out the full infographic rammed with loads of great commerce stats about how shoppers behave on Pinterest:
What is perhaps most notable about these stats is that they come from data and research gathered before Pinterest introduced its Buyable Pins feature on the platform.
But, since its launch, according to the Pinterest blog, “Even in these early days, we’re seeing strong results from Buyable Pins. A study of Buyable Pins from Shopify merchants showed 2x higher conversion rates compared to other Pins on mobile. That’s promising to us (and hopefully to you!) because we wanted to build something that would make mobile shopping frictionless.”
Well, I would concur that this is indeed “promising” – for the feature is really only in its infancy, and, as yet, not completely rolled out. Indeed “Buyable Pins are only available to select U.S. retailers and businesses using commerce platforms like Shopify, Demandware, Bigcommerce, IBM Commerce and Magento,” says Pinterest for Business. “We plan to work on more integrations in the future.”
So, “promising” it may be, but if you want to start flogging your goods on Pinterest, you’re actually, for the time being, going to have to get in line. Currently there’s a waiting list that you can join to start setting up your Pinterest for Business page as a portal for direct sales. Or, if you already use Shopify, Demandware, Bigcommerce, IBM Commerce or Magento, to run your online store on your website, then you can click on the links and apply via them.
Why The Wait?
Well, that’s the question that many eager retailers want answered. Nathan on the Shopify discussions page, though, helpfully gives us an answer:
“Pinterest has created one of the most genuinely marketable social media communities ever and to make sure that the community is as receptive as possible and has a high degree of interest, they’re very protective of who and what can currently be sold on that market to build consumer confidence. At the moment they are reviewing all shops that are applying to make sure that they have a strong business history and meet all the requirements of their advertising policies – https://about.pinterest.com/en/advertising-rules”.
In The Meantime…
Buyable Pins have the potential to literally change the face of e-commerce on the internet. With 87% of pinners saying that they have purchased something they’ve discovered whilst pinning, just think of all the added conversions that could be made when all users have to do is click a button.
As Pinterest co-founder and chief executive Ben Silbermann comments: “Pinterest is already designed to work like a catalogue, so we wanted to find a way to weave buyable pins into the pages people already know. Buyable pins are a simple and secure way to buy the products you love right from inside Pinterest.”
Put simply, there’s never been a better time to start focussing on your Pinterest account whilst you wait for approval to start selling (see ‘5 Great Ways To Stand Out On Pinterest’).
As mentioned, the first thing that you will need to do to is get on a waiting list. Once you’ve been approved there are a couple more steps that you need to take:
- Your site must be set up to generate a product feed in a specific format that notifies Pinterest which of your products are eligible for purchase via the Buyable Pins program.
- Your site must also implement a specific API that allows the Pinterest servers to create orders on your site for users of the Pinterest iPhone and iPad applications.
Now, this might start to sound a bit technical and even off-putting for many online retailers, but if you set up with Shopify, Magento or one of the other commerce platforms listed above, then most of this will be taken care of for you.
Why Buyable Pins Kick Ass For Online Merchants
First and foremost – there are no subscription or transaction fees! That’s right, Pinterest will not be taking a cut from sales made on its site, and is providing this additional service for merchants absolutely free of charge. Instead, the social network hopes to make extra money by increasing merchants’ engagement with Pinterest, specifically via advertising and its Promoted Pins program.
It won’t all come completely free, of course – your commerce platform will charge you for integrating the extension into your online store, but, on the scale of things, this will be a one-off charge that is likely to be minimal compared to having to cough up a percentage every time someone makes a purchase from your Pinterest page.
But, as the merchant, you will absolutely ‘own’ each order that gets placed on your Pinterest page. This means that, unlike when you sell through a third-party channel like Amazon or eBay, the transaction will take place just as if the customer were buying directly from your website. This means that you will be able to reach out and engage with your customers in much more meaningful ways.
For instance, you will have direct access to all of the customer’s data – email address, demographic, the lot – so you will have the direct opportunity to appeal to them to come back again and place another order. This means Pinterest’s buyable pins will deliver a much higher customer lifetime value than if they had bought your product through a third-party channel, where the likes of Amazon retain the ‘ownership’ of the order and indeed the customer.
Have you managed to get off the ground with Pinterest’s Buyable Pins yet? What have your experiences been like so far, and what do you think of the service as a whole? Please share your comments below.