When you hear “Pinterest,” what comes to mind?
Social networking site. Communication portal. Image sharing site. Catalog of ideas. But now, it’s also a social shopping site.
The truth is, people come to Pinterest for several reasons. If you’re a business owner or an entrepreneur of any sort, you can now use Pinterest to make more sales and increase your revenue.
If you’re an e-commerce brand or online retailer preparing to take your sales to the next level this year, why not take advantage of Pinterest’s shopping features? It makes buying directly from the site easier.
So how can you use Pinterest’s shopping features to boost your sales? Here’s how:
In 2015, when Pinterest allowed users to buy items from their phones, it was a game changer for both brands and customers.
If you want your audience to respond to your Pins, you’ve got to be relevant. Don’t try to be clever. Instead, become relevant and clear in your communications when pinning and repinning images.
Sadly, most brands and marketers still struggle to get the most out of these new features. Why? I’ll tell you…
They don’t know what their audience wants.
Right now, there are two categories of Pins that you can use to engage your audience:
1.) Rich Pins: These Pins provide additional information right on the Pin itself. There are six types of Rich Pins: app, movie, recipe, article, product, and place.
2.) Buyable Pins: These Pins expand on the additional information that Rich Pins provide by allowing Pinterest users to add items to the shopping bag and securely checkout. All of these can be done right within Pinterest’s mobile app and desktop experience.
The Buyable Pins are Pinterest’s version of buy buttons on a website. When users see a Pin with a blue price, they can buy the item right from the app.
Interestingly, Pinners can use the new price filter to find their favorite brand’s products by narrowing down on the options.
Once the user is interested in a Pin with a blue price and taps on the Buy it button, they can complete the purchase using Apple Pay or their credit card.
To take advantage of this feature, you need to be able to persuade more customers to add items to their shopping bag (which is also a new feature). To do this, you need to know and understand your audience and what they want to buy in the first place.
In the exact words of Kristen Comings, Vice President of Integrated Consumer Communications atL’Oreal Paris:
“We realized that our customers use Pinterest to create a digital shopping list of products they plan to buy, so we strategically create compelling boards with this consumer behavior in mind.”
Notice how systematic L’Oreal was in their approach. They went as far as studying consumer behavior before creating boards. As a result, it improved purchase intent by 37.2% and brand visibility by 27.8%.
Remember that your audience isn’t just scrolling Pinterest boards for fun. They have a purpose. When you take the time to study how your audience discovers new products, you’ll be better positioned to engage and build strong relationships with them as they enter your marketing funnel.
To engage them, you need not only great visual content but also catchy Pin descriptions that will draw people in and get you more repins. So write detailed descriptions and test them. Keep in mind that a recent study shows that Pin descriptions around 200 characters long get repinned the most. For this reason, you should clearly describe the webpage or store the click will lead to.
Take time to understand your audience. After all, when you reach new buyers with Buyable Pins, Pinterest doesn’t take a cut from your sales, which means more money for you. You control the shopping experience and handle shipping and customer service the way you deem fit.
Now that you have an insight on who your audience is and what they want, how do you get the sales rolling in? Well let’s see…
It’s your responsibility to keep the shopping cart intact when they decide to come back. With the new Pinterest shopping bag, you’ve got buyers covered. As long as the items are in the cart, you can always follow-up and close the sale.
How long does it take people to come back and checkout? It depends. A study by Scanalert on consumer behaviors as it pertains to online shopping shows that 28% of visitors take more than a day to return and complete an order in the cart.
Trusted shopping sites, such as Amazon and eBay, have long delighted customers because of their shopping cart experience. In the same way, Pinterest’s shopping bag is aimed at encouraging users to stay on the platform, add multiple items, and only checkout when they want.
So activate buyable pins on your board, and watch users add your items to the bag. This bag can also remind shoppers who have added items to their cart but forgotten to checkout. Users can review their order with each seller right in their bag.
If you sell on any of the major e-commerce platforms, you can use Buyable Pins right away.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could use Pinterest not only as social media platform, but as a promotional portal for content designed to meet your buyer’s needs at every stage of the buying cycle?
Well, now you can. By helping your audience shop their favorite brands, you can acquire customers through this channel.
Let’s assume your audience is interested in a men’s long sleeve jersey, and you know where to find them. To help them out, you visit your favorite brand’s profile and tap the new filtering options to find popular products, sale items, and deals. Then you can repin them for your audience.
You can also do that for your own products/Pins. To help your audience discover them, you can use Promoted Pins.
Ezra, founder of Smart Marketer, generated a total of 520 sales, and made $41,254 on promoted pins alone, after spending $775.50 in ads. Now imagine how many sales you’ll generate if you incorporate other Pinterest shopping features.
Unlike other social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, where users are more interested in getting free information, Pinterest users show “commercial intent.” It’s no secret that when people spend more time on a platform, they’re more likely to buy an item. This is why you must actively promote your pins and continually educate your audience to engage them.
For example, Bank of America has an active and valuable Pinterest page. Their page is an online educational resource that helps people understand how to manage money.
As a result, the BMH (Better Money Habits) campaign reached over six million people within five months, and more than 29,000 saves were recorded.
Hashtags are powerful social tools. On Twitter, hashtags help you discover your favorite brands and compelling tweets, and much more. But on Pinterest, hashtags can provide a richer shopping experience for users.
Unlike Twitter, Pinterest search doesn’t support hashtags. This doesn’t mean that users can’t do it, but the results will not be accurate.
Here’s what I mean: When you search a hashtag like #cats, here’s what you get:
Notice that Pins with the word “cat” in the description will appear in the search results. However, several Pins that have the word “cat” encrypted in the product page, URL, or photo equally show up. Hashtags are meant to be clickable. But how do you click on them when they’re not even in the result?
The good thing about hashtags on Pinterest is that they’re only clickable in a Pin description. So there’s no need to put them in your board titles or “about” section.
More importantly, before writing your Pin descriptions with a view to promoting the Pins, you need to create a compelling hashtag that users will click on. After all, they act as keywords.
This is pretty easy. In the “Upload a Pin” dialog box, simply add # before your tag word (i.e. the word you want to make clickable and popular). The tag word automatically gets bolded in your description, becomes clickable, and forwards people to “pinterest.com/search/?q=Yourhashtag”. With this, users can find your Pins easily.
Avoid using generic hashtags. So instead of using #entertainment, try a specific word or term such as #singing. Don’t forget to use interactive elements (like messages, likes, tagging users, comments, and more) to enhance the user’s shopping experience.
Remember that when you tag users, you can contact them directly on Pinterest. It’s a great way to connect with influencers on the platform who can amplify your Pins and help you reach a targeted audience.
In the past, when users spotted an item or Pin they liked, there was no easy way to find it elsewhere and buy it.
For example, when you spot a perfect lamp in a Pin of a dining room, how do you get information on the product and make a purchase at that moment?
Well, that’s what the new visual search icon helps you to achieve. Since you don’t have the right words (or no words to describe them) this tool can help you.
Here’s how it works: When you spot an item in a Pin that you want to repin, buy, or learn more about, simply tap the search tool in the corner.
Next, select the section of the Pin you want to see, and Pinterest will show you related Pins. Yes, you can even filter the visual results by topic. This way, you’ll be able to find the exact item you’re interested in.
If you zoom in on the item (i.e. the lamp), you’ll see what it’s called. In this case, “Bowtie Pendant Light,” and the exact place to find it.
Remember that users can take full advantage of Pinterest’s shopping features, including the visual search icon, when they’re informed. For example, if users are looking for a Pin of men’s apparel, after clicking on the visual search icon, they will also be able to search for related items, whether it’s a shoe, tie, or a belt, because all of these items/Pins are usually grouped together.
If there’s one place where social networking meets e-commerce, it’s on Pinterest. You can use the available shopping features to inspire your audience and help them make informed decisions.
Artificially intelligent shopping seems to be the future of online shopping, and Pinterest has taken major strides in this space. What this means for marketers and e-commerce stores is that exciting times lie ahead and they should capitalize on Pinterest’s shopping features if they haven’t done so.
Aside from shopping, Pinterest’s shopping features could also help people find recipes, holiday destinations, and more. The best part is that features are already built into the Pinterest app and website. So loyal Pinterest users don’t need to download any new technology to use these features.
Featured Image: Julia_Tim/DepositPhotos
Screenshots by Vinay Koshy. Taken January 2017.