The Pinterest Buy Button Might Rock Your Ecommerce

February 20th, 2015

Last Thursday, Re/code revealed that Pinterest is laying the groundwork for an eCommerce “buy” button. According to reporter Jason Del Rey, merchants could be able to start limited testing in as little as three months.

With more than 70 million monthly users, Pinterest is easily one of the largest and fastest-growing social networks around. And when it comes to eCommerce, Pinterest already dominates many of its competitors. In fact, Pinterest users boast the highest average checkout value of all social media referral shoppers, and Pinterest-referred users spend an average of 70% more than their non-pinning counterpart .

An eCommerce Edge

These statistics beg the question: Why does Pinterest have an eCommerce advantage?

Unlike Facebook or Twitter, Pinterest serves as a platform for inspiration for users. They’re not sharing selfies or updating their statuses; they’re actively searching for their next project, recipe, or cute pair of shoes.

In some ways, the platform serves as a social way to curate and build wish lists. The very nature of the platform means users are in a product-oriented, maybe-even-buying mindset, which is key for driving eCommerce.

The Potential of a “Buy” Button

Pinterest is already a great vehicle for driving traffic to retailer (and brand) websites, and it lends itself to shopping more than any other social media network. A buy button would further decrease friction for would-be shoppers and allow for even greater eCommerce potential for merchants.

If Pinterest’s “buy” button experiment does work, it will also be the first time we’ve seen a social network transition into a marketplace successfully. Both Facebook and Twitter have experimented with marketplaces of their own, but they are struggling to gain user trust and identify consumers’ intent to buy.

…But Not So Fast

Despite the fact that Pinterest users love the platform and merchants see a ton of economic value in it, historically the company has treaded carefully on programs that would monetize their audience—and rightfully so. It’s essential Pinterest introduces new features slowly, without disrupting the user experience.

Case in point: It took Pinterest more than a year to test and fully release Promoted Pins, a good three years after Twitter and Facebook released Promoted Tweets and Promoted Posts, respectively. Truthfully, many social networks are still haunted by what happened to Digg, a once-huge social network that destroyed its following by trying to monetize too quickly.

So even if a “buy” button is on the horizon, a system-wide rollout might take much longer than rumors have led us to believe.

What Can You Do Now?

Fortunately, even before the “buy” button officially drops, there are still a number of ways retailers and brand advocates can increase conversions using Pinterest accounts.

Polish Your Pins

The way you present a pin greatly affects its rate of engagement. In many cases, you can standout with a few quick tweaks:

  • Put a price in your pin to increase the chance of it being liked by 36%.
  • Add a call to action for an 80% increase in engagement.
  • Keep your brand images free-of-faces for a 23% boost in repins.
  • Rein in your character count to 200-300 for a 57% increase in shares.
  • Think vertical: images that are 800 pixels tall are shared 67% more than those that are only 400 pixels tall.

Consult the Goodie Bag

Pinterest offers all kinds of additional tools (previously called “goodies”) for businesses. From analytics to widgets, these features should absolutely not be overlooked. Use them to:

  • Place a Pin It button on your website to encourage sharing
  • Add extra details (like show times and prices) using Rich Pins
  • Check your analytics page to monitor content popularity
  • Increase your Pins’ reach with Promoted Pins

Optimize Your Site for Would-Be Pinners

First, be sure your site is responsive and mobile-friendly. More than 75% of Pinterest traffic comes from the mobile app. The next step is to make sure the content on your site has the potential to create a (nearly) perfect Pin.

Pinterest automatically pulls data from your site to create Rich Pins. Retailers and brands can make sure the information they want (like a description and price) comes along for the ride by configuring each product’s Meta tags properly.

Check out a full tutorial (and access a free tool and even more tips) here.

If Pinterest does successfully make the transition to a social marketplace with the introduction of a “buy” button, it will provide an immense opportunity for merchants to connect to a massive, engaged customer base. In the meantime, don’t sit idle! This is the perfect time to tighten up your Pinterest account.

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