Word-of-Mouth and Referral Marketing Blog

Pinterest Users Love To Shop: Tips For Ecommerce Retailers


If you’re in the ecommerce business and you don’t have a well-stocked, lively Pinterest page, you’re literally losing sales.

Kevin Roose argues in this post on NY Mag that Pinterest is a bigger deal than we imagine for the commercial world. This is because Pinterest is designed to encourage spending in an user base already eager and able to spend.

Pinterest punches above its weight in conversion rates. 

Some remarkable facts about the pint-sized platform:

  • Pinterest now drives more referral traffic to publishers than Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit and Google+ combined.
  • Pinners spend much longer on the website – 15.8 minutes, than users do on Facebook (12.1 minutes) and on Twitter (3.3 minutes).
  • Pinners are 10 percent more likely to make purchases on ecommerce sites than users of other social networks.
  • Pinners, on average, spend twice as much per order than Facebook users.

These numbers alone are enough for brands to pay serious attention to Pinterest. But why does Pinterest obtain the results for ecommerce brands, that other social media don’t?

Pinterest delivers high conversion rates because its users are more willing and able to spend.

The users Pinterest attract are more niche than the users Facebook and Twitter attract. Most Pinners are adult women under the age of 50 a good half of them have children, and a disproportionate number of them have high purchasing power to begin with – 28.1% of Pinners have an annual household income of $100,000 and above.

If the average Pinner was profiled, they would be “white, college-educated women under 50”. Put that together with the fact that women make about 85% of all consumer purchases, and that 19-39 year olds are hte fastest growing consumer segment in America.

Basically, the average Pinner is worth more to businesses than the average user on other social media.


Or, as Roose puts it, Pinterest selling point to the commercial world isn’t its size, but the buying power of its users. 

Pinterest encourages spending because pinning is aspirational.

Pinterest doesn’t just attract a crowd with buying power – its very design facilitates spending.

Robert Moore from RJ Metrics observes that the unique thing about pinning is that it’s aspirational. Pinterest is the virtual equivalent of a recipe binder for the avid home cook. Each page ripped off a cookbook or magazine and added to the binder is an indication of intent to make that dish.

Also imagine that this recipe binder allows our home cook to peruse her friends’ binders, and them hers – at any time, from any place – and you see many more people aspiring towards many more culinary projects.


Now imagine if, for every page our home cook ripped off a food magazine, the recipe binder would refer her to a related page in a friend’s binder, or in another magazine.

That’s what Pinterest does for its users, many of whom are lifestyle brands. It refers a products to users who are mostly likely to be interested in them. And then a Pinner who pins that product refers it to people who are already interested in her tastes and preferences. Pinterest lets users easily discover things they never even knew they wanted.

Brands are using Pinterest in more ways than one – and not just fashion and beauty brands. 

Plenty of fashion and beauty brands have beautiful Pinterest boards with large followings – Victoria’s Secret, Sephora, Modcloth, Warby Parker, just to name a few. Food and beverage brands like Wholefoods and Starbucks would naturally also find Pinterest immediately relevant.

And Pinterest’s usefulness extends far beyond fashion and food. Many brands are already using Pinterest, from tech brands like HubSpot and Klout, to NGOs like the Make A Wish Foundation, and even Government brands like the Cincinnati Zoo.

You can use Pinterest in many more ways than just displaying products. Klout, for example, has Pinterest boards for social engagement (KloutSXSW, Klout for Good, and Klout Eats), as well as for content sharing (Klout Infographics).

Pinterest remains heavily underutilized by content marketers.

Social media experts have this to say about the usage of Pinterest in ecommerce:

Pinterest is still widely underused for bloggers. Bloggers should have a Pinterest Business account and utilize the analytics on their pins.” – Peg Fitzpatrick

Marketers sometimes miss the mark with images. On Pinterest and on other social networks images are often seen in isolation and the viewer has to make an extra effort to read the text of the pin description to understand it. A simple text overlay is an easy way to clarify the meaning of the image and can increase click throughs.” Cynthia Sanchez (edited for length)

And it doesn’t have to be this way, since it barely costs any time or effort for brands to get on the platform, and especially since there are numerous social media experts writing tips on how to maximize Pinterest for your brand. You can make use of some apps to generate Rich Pins to boost your business, and Vincent Ng (who founded the Pintalysis Marketing Blueprint) outlined several Pinterest tips on Ecommerce Rules.

Brands should use Pinterest if they’re not already on it; and brands that are already Pinners should keep improving the way they utilize the platform.

Roose invites us to imagine the marketer’s perfect tool:

Ideally, you’d want that social network to be filled with women between the ages of 19-39. You’d want it to be the place where people plan their weddings, pick out furniture for their homes, discover recipes for dinner parties, and plan their outfits. You’d want it to feel less like a social network than an interactive catalog, where users can browse and buy your products, and share the ones they like with their friends.

This perfect marketing machine you just designed already exists. It’s called Pinterest.

So really, there’s no excuse for ecommerce brands not to be on Pinterest. If you do get an account or already have one, hit us up! We post ecommerce and marketing content that we find fun and helpful.

Pinterest users love to shop.

Pinterest has grown into the third most popular social media site in the world, with the majority of users using it for shopping inspiration. While Facebook might still be more popular, Pinterest users spend 60% more than Facebook users, making it the prime social media site for ecommerce retailers looking to drive more sales. Put more simply, Pinterest users are in a much more “buying” mood than Facebook users.

Still unconvinced that you should be on Pinterest? Well, now you can include real-time pricing, stock availability and direct links in your product pins.

Compare the two pins below. Does the top pin (with the pricing and product details) make you feel a little more compelled to purchase the product? If it does, you already know why you should use Pinterest Rich Pins for your business.

Pinterest Rich Pins

Pinterest Rich Pin (for products)

Pinterest Pins

Normal Pin

“So.. how will Rich Pins help me improve my sales?”

Rich Pins are a very recent feature, so there is little data to definitively prove that they improve the conversion rate of pinners viewing product pins. However, we’re confident that Rich Pins will improve your sales. Here’s why:

From a marketing perspective, it is clear that pricing information and stock availability are factors that influence purchasing decisionsA related study by Shopify last year indicated a 36% increase in likes for pins with prices as compared to those without. Pinners also get frustrated if they learn about a product being out-of-stock only after clicking a pin, so stock availability is a highly relevant piece of information.

Moreover, the presence of a direct link to the product page acts as a strong call-to-action. Every retailer ultimately wants to drive traffic from Pinterest to their store, and having a “See this at XYZ” link under each pin makes it easier for pinners to get to your product pages.

“How do I implement Rich Pins?”

Rich Pins for products were originally limited to major retailers such as Sephora and Nordstrom, but not any more! Now anybody can reap the benefits of Product Pins, as long as you add the appropriate meta tags to your store’s backend and get your pins validated. This may be difficult to implement if you’re unfamiliar with meta tags – you might want to ask your developer to help you out.

You might not even have to do that, though. Etsy, Shopify and eBay retailers are some ecommerce platforms that help you integrate Rich Pins into your store automatically. Retailers using other ecommerce platforms can probably expect to see this feature rolled out in time to come, too.

“Should I really use it?”

If you’re already maintaining a Pinterest account for your ecommerce business, experimenting with Rich Pins is too easy not to do. Post some rich pins together with your normal pins, since rich pins can be validated individually, and A/B test them. Pay attention to the number of repins and likes as performance metrics, or even measure the number of clicks and revenue generated through Pinterest Analytics.

Rich Pins is merely the beginning of Pinterest’s efforts in engaging retailers. We can probably expect Pinterest to embed more functionalities for Rich Pins in the future. Coupled with in-built analytics, Pinterest is gradually shaking away its identity of being “the latest social media craze” to becoming the market leader in social commerce.

Exciting times for all of us in ecommerce.


Aaron is an intern at ReferralCandy. He loves travelling.

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