Pinterest is fast becoming one of the most widely used and well known visual search engines for eCommerce, despite its initial formation as a simple board and image sharing app. Today on the blog, we talk about Pinterest: how it began, what you need to know about it, and most importantly how to sell on Pinterest.
What is Pinterest
Pinterest was founded in 2009, and like so many social networks, began as a small operation operating out of an apartment in the San Francisco area. The company was founded as a way to share collections of images and ideas on “boards”.
Boards are visual squares and service collections of related images. It’s similar to an interior designers process of’ designing a room. They create a board with all their inspirations from many different sources like magazines, fabrics, furniture, photographs and really anything that inspires them and create a board for their clients.
In the same way, Pinterest users can create boards and collect images of nearly any type of product or photograph and group them together. Boards can be shared with other users or just kept as private places of inspiration. Pinterest core as an idea-generating board drove its popularity to new heights. People used it to find inspiration for decorating and DIY projects, and in 2019, 10 years after its founding, Pinterest became a publicly traded company valued at over $10bn.
Pinterest by the numbers
Let’s talk numbers. First, Pinterest’s user base is over 367 million people. That’s a lot of users, and a lot of information to discuss today.
Here are some quick facts:
- Valued at over $10bn
- Over half of Pinterest’s users are active weekly
- 3rd largest social network in the US at the moment
- 80% of moms between ages 18 to 64 use Pinterest in the US
- Strong growth outside of US, over 80% of new signups from outside US
- Majority of Pinterest users make over $75,000 / year
With numbers like these, you can see why we think there’s some serious sales potential here. It’s like your marketing profile is making itself! This is a large social media service full of affluent women, and a lot of moms, looking for things from beauty to home décor and fashion. If you’re engaged in the type of selling that fits this profile, then it’s a no brainer to get onto the network.
It’s particularly encouraging as a long-term sales channel because of its growth outside of the US market. With over 80% of new users coming from beyond the US, a trend which we can expect to continue, this is a platform that’s giving you the opportunity to expand your business as it develops.
How to sell on Pinterest: advantages
Pinterest is one of the only services, and the best developed service, that offers a visual search. What’s visual search? It’s a way of using your camera from a phone or tablet to take a picture or a live shot of something in your environment, and use it to search the internet or platform.
Pinterest’s Lens is one of the most advanced visual search tools on the internet, and it comes with the Pinterest platform. Another Pinterest advantage? Once you use Pinterest Lens to find that perfect lipstick, you can use the “try it on feature”.
Try on is a Pinterest feature that takes the products on its platform and creates a visual representation for you to see how you would look. Use the front-facing camera on your phone to show you how you would look with that shade of red. This is a powerful feature that customers can use to see if they’d really like to buy it. Another advantage? Fewer returns. If customers can try on or virtually try on their products before you ship it to them, you’ll hopefully get fewer unsatisfied customers!
How Pinterest makes money
Most of Pinterest’s money is made via it’s promoted pins advertising program. Promoted pins look like normal pins, but are placed by advertisers and are identified as such, similar to Facebook’s sponsored or boosted posts.
Advantages to selling on Pinterest
Although it’s currently the third largest network in the US, Tik Tok will likely overtake them (if it already hasn’t!) in monthly active users soon. Even if they do, it’s still worth noting that Pinterest will have higher revenue than TikTok in 2019. Pinterest’s 2019 revenue was $1.14bn, whereas TikTok’s was $176.9 million. That’s a huge difference, given TikTok’s parent company’s valuation at $78bn! What accounts for the difference and how does it help you to know how to sell on Pinterest?
How to sell on Pinterest: eCommerce functions
Pinterest has rolled out a lot of eCommerce functions this year. Its new shop function allows you to shop from your own Pinterest created boards. It will give you recommendations on products you can buy, and it bases it on the pins you’ve added to your collection. From the seller’s side, this is a great way to use a customer’s own preferences to match your products to them, with little effort on your part! Purchases happen in the app and use Pinterest own traffic of “Pinners”. Now that’s how to sell on Pinterest!
Shop from search
Shop from search will allow Pinners to easily shop from their search results in the app. This makes it very easy to purchase the products that come up when a Pinner looks for their latest set of pins and sees that absolutely must-have, love at first sight, product. It also makes it easy for you to know how to sell on Pinterest!
Because Pinners typically search for generic search terms and not brand-specific products, this creates a huge opportunity for the aspiring seller. It also helps you know how to sell on Pinterest. How? Your products could easily and quickly be connected to the exact people looking to buy them. That’s even a bit better than Google, which will display a text ad on its search results, and more like Amazon, which will display items it has for sale. It should give the little guy a chance to make some great.
Pinners can also use the “shop similar” button for these visual searches, and shoppable pins will come up on Pinterest. This is an amazing feature and will help you know how to sell on Pinterest. It puts loads of similar items into the hands of the Pinner, and they are, of course, shoppable! You can even limit the object search to specific objects within the picture! This is an incredibly powerful way to sell your products to people that are looking for something very similar, but maybe a bit pricier or even unavailable altogether.
Why you should sell on Pinterest
Aside from all the above reasons, why should you be selling on Pinterest? Well, here’s the rundown.
Higher conversion rate
Pinners can go from searchers to buyers at lightning speed, which means that the conversion rate for your items should also be higher. This is called the “path to purchase” – and refers to the friction and hoops the user has to go to in order to buy your product. Pinners see your product for the first time, they like it and they buy it.
Even if they don’t buy it right then and there, it’s easily saved within their boards. That means they could come back to it and end up becoming customers after all. Getting Pinners to pin is a big key to knowing how to sell on Pinterest! Pinning is an additional metric that allows you to track demand for your item, even if it’s not selling. You could reduce the price, or offer more options, in order to try to convert these Pins into sales!
Use it to experiment
Pinterest and its Pin and board system allow you to get a good idea of what products are potential bestsellers, as mentioned above. You can also see how Pinterest is relating other products to your products, which means you have an easy path to create similar products if it’s in the same category or design type.
Use Pinterest to discover trends associated with your brand or product line. Take a look at what your buyers are following and Pinning to get an idea of what more you could offer them. It’s a great way to be discovered in ways you can’t anticipate with Google search or Facebook. Put up some products and images on Pinterest and see where it takes you – hopefully to higher sales and help you to know how to sell on Pinterest!
It’s a traffic behemoth
If you want more traffic to your site, then start getting some items up on Pinterest. Pinners visit the sites of the products they like at a higher rate than most social networks. Why? Pinterest is showing people things they like or hadn’t considered, and that’s very interesting to the users. For example, you might not have traction with your website for print on demand products, but if you start to Pin your products, you could start to get that highly specific traffic and audience to your site. That’s how to sell on Pinterest! Some brands are even getting more traffic from Pinterest than Facebook! It’s not a network to be ignored if your product fits on the platform.
Get some links to great traffic
If you want links to your products and users coming directly to them before even landing on your site, then Pinterest will give them to you. Every Pin includes a link back to your products, and users will often visit a product’s homepage. This is a traffic goldmine for store owners, assuming they have a product that Pinners like! This also gives you a higher engagement on your images, which means more motivated buyers coming onto your platform.
Pinners are usually very engaged relative to other platforms. They’re searching for the next big thing or product, and they’ll share it with their friends. It’s not about likes and followers, it’s about whether or not the audience – your friends or family typically – share in your unique style. Communities also exist for Pinners, and they are trying to show off for their virtual friends.
Imagine this: you’ve designed an original, Art Deco-inspired custom poster or wall art piece. Now, how does your perfect piece of wall art fit perfectly onto the board of an Art Deco obsessed fan? If it does, then you might see some sales, not just from them but from their fellow Pinners too!
Popular Pinterest stores and items
Want to know more about how to sell on Pinterest? Take a look at who is already doing it. Let’s take a look at the most popular retailers and stores on Pinterest now to get a sense of how the platform is being used by retailers for eCommerce. We’ll try to relate it directly to potential sales you could get from your Printify account. 😉
Nordstrom is huge on Pinterest, and they have over 5 million followers. What can we learn from Nordstrom to know how to sell on Pinterest? What do they sell? Nordstrom is the high end department store located in the US, and they sell everything from home and lifestyle products to clothes and beauty products. That means that Pinterest is the absolute perfect social network for them – and they know it!
Nordstrom receives over 10m monthly viewers on Pinterest. We’re not sure what the Nordstrom.com website gets, but we’re seeing numbers that estimate around 34 million. That means that 1/3 of Nordstrom’s website traffic is equaled by its Pinterest account, and who knows how many of those views Pinterest is actually driving every month.
Nordstrom has tens of thousands of pins on Pinterest. They have over 5,300 beauty pins, for example. There are over 11,900 Pins about “Women’s Clothing”, nearly 1,000 pins about “Dresses for All Occasions”, and 3500 pins pertaining to “Women’s Accessories”. This is a massive investment in the Pinterest platform, and we have to assume that it’s paying off for Nordstrom in traffic, website views and sales. Having a lot of Pins is a great way to use Pinterest and is a key to knowing how to sell on Pinterest.
From shoes to clothing, Nordstrom has nearly their entire catalog on Pinterest. If a major brick and mortar retailer is leveraging Pinterest to this extent, what does this tell you about how to sell on Pinterest and the potential the platform has for your store? Pinterest is a great way to get your products out to people that want to see them, with only a bit of effort on your part – and Nordstrom’s experience selling nearly anything and everything, especially luxury products, proves it.
Here’s another retailer that’s killing it on Pinterest, Anthropologie. Let’s see what they can teach us about how to sell on Pinterest. Anthropologie is a boutique department store catering primarily to women. They also have products for home and lifestyle. They have over 10m monthly viewers on Pinterest, just like Nordstrom. They also have a community, that posts under #MyAntropologie.
Let’s take a look at how they use Pinterest. Their shop offers a lot of their items for sale, especially accessories. They have thousands of products listed, and the prices range from $7 to $998+, so they don’t limit the type of items they’re selling on Pinterest to any one category or price point.
While they do offer clothing, especially dresses, for sale, most of their items are furniture pieces or accessories. These are items you don’t typically need to try on to see if it fits before you buy it. What does this tell us about how to sell on Pinterest? It certainly doesn’t mean they’re not selling any clothing – they are, and shoes especially. But they’re using the platform to try to leverage its strengths in home décor and inspiration as well.
That’s a smart way to go about leveraging the platform for sales – appeal to its strengths, rather than try to conform it to your own vision of how you’re going to sell products. This is a great way to use Pinterest and shows well how to sell on Pinterest!
When you’re using social media or platforms, try to see how they can help you by becoming a better part of the ecosystem that they’ve built. This is also an easy way to grow followers, rather than trying to fight the algorithms for attention, give them what they want!
Lululemon is the controversial athleisure brand that everyone loves to talk about. They also have something to tell us about how to sell on Pinterest! Starting originally as apparel for practitioners of Yoga, this brand has definitely become broader in its scope of product offering in the last five or so years. Why is that? It might actually be in no small part to the brand’s exposure on Pinterest.
Pinterest lets you learn about your audience, and about their preferences. That’s the perfect place to find out about what new products your followers might be interested in. The lululemon brand definitely needed to expand if it was going to survive. Perhaps it’s more than 2m followers and 2.8m monthly viewers helped them to figure that out, and how to sell on Pinterest!
Firstly, they have Pins about their core Yoga apparel products, which is exactly what you expect if you want to know how to sell on Pinterest. They also have a lot of Pins on their boards related to athletics and working out generally, such as running, which is a big focus for their brand. They also have another board, called “Sweat” – dedicated to athletics and working out.
It’s not a huge leap, as Yoga is regarded as a type of exercise for most of its practitioners, and the brand can easily branch out into other types of exercise that its apparel might be suited for. Lululemon also has their models for their clothing being active and doing something athletic or mobile in nearly every one of their photos, not just standing blandly and modeling. Pinterest is all about visual appeal, and this is a clear nod to how to attract attention in a simple way. In this case by just having their models stand or move a bit while the picture is taken, it shows you a lot about how to sell on Pinterest!
Another focus? Men. Why, if men aren’t typically using Pinterest as discussed above, would they focus on this? This is where you can learn something about how to sell on Pinterest. Well, women buy clothes for men too, arguable more than men buy for themselves. What better way to give the women in the lives of these men the idea for some great lululemon products than to insert them into where their fans are already looking?
How to sell on Pinterest
Getting started is easy, just get signed up for a Pinterest Business account and get your website verified. Then, you’ll be able to open a Pinterest shop, and you’ll have access to Pinterest analytics and advertising. But that’s not all there is to know how to sell on Pinterest.
Make sure you’re also doing SEO optimization, just like you do for your own website. Put keywords in your title, and organize boards according to industry as well, or at least by description or product category. Make sure you’re also using Rich Pins, which shows extra information from your website. This is especially useful if you have a detailed product description.
Selling on Pinterest involves a lot of patience and a lot of art – your copy must be good, your images have to look amazing. The most difficult part? Your products have to be up to snuff with the thousands of other pins on the platform.
And, as always, think: my brand, my brand, my brand. What kind of brand are you creating with your store? Everything needs to match that on Pinterest because branding is what Pinterest is all about – it’s a visual feast for brands and their hungry fans. This is really the key to knowing how to sell on Pinterest. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to go above and beyond to push your store to the limit – and you’ll be rewarded with sales!
How much does it cost to sell on Pinterest
No discussion about how to sell on Pinterest would be complete without talking about the costs. Selling through the Pinterest shop doesn’t cost anything (right now!), but if you want your products to be feature first, you’ll need to pay for some of the advertising we mentioned above. What’s the advantage there? Well, like Amazon, Etsy, or other platforms, Pinterest delivers the Pins its algorithms determine. If you’re not that, or you’re just not there yet, consider using advertising to boost your sales!
Put a pin on it
Hopefully, this information about how to sell on Pinterest is useful to you! It’s a huge sales opportunity for all of our store owners, and one you should already be looking into if you cater to women! But, as we’ve shown, sales for men find their way onto Pinterest too, even though they make up less than 20% of total users. Take a look at Pinterest today and see how they could help you with your sales.
How? Your brand could rake in huge numbers by having the right mix and discipline to sell effectively on Pinterest. But – selling on Pinterest isn’t easy, although attractive. You have to be smart, disciplined, and have stunning looking photos or illustrations. If you think you can cut it on this uber competitive social network, then dive into selling on Pinterest today.
Want to see what we mean? Take a look at Printify’s very own Pinterest account to get inspired to start your very own merch empire.
We offer stunning products and ideas to get you started on your journey! We hope we can help you use Pinterest to drive sales for your own products!
Make it happen right now.
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