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Social Commerce: Using Pinterest to Increase E-Commerce Sales

Ross Beyeler

Pinterest call themselves, “the world’s catalog of ideas.” Really it’s best thought of as a visual bookmarking platform, and should be approached as such. Users “pin” or save gifts, recipes, craft ideas, cute puppy photos, and products for referencing later. Collections of pins are known as ‘boards’ and are usually created around a specific theme or category. If you’ve ever created a mood board, you understand the main concept behind Pinterest. Nearly the entirety of a user’s motivation for using Pinterest is to tuck away items for future purchasing. Because of this, Pinterest has become a great way for brands to drive e-commerce sales. With that in mind, we’ll show you how to start using Pinterest to sell your Shopify products, and some best practices for doing so.

Know Your Audience

Mastering Pinterest will come from understanding what your customers’ interests are. Curating boards that tailor to those different interests will keep your users engaged. Don’t be afraid to have a variety of boards that are focused on specific topics, it’s far better than having a catch-all board with no direction. By providing your users options they don’t have to bother with areas of which are no interest to them.

Knowing your own audience is important, but It’s also crucial to understand that females comprised 85% of Pinterest’s user base in 2014. This makes it very unique and is important to understand when considering your strategy for the platform. However, males are starting to flock to Pinterest too, having seen a 120% increase in 2015 alone.

Regardless of who you sell to, Pinterest can be a major motivator of e-commerce sales, generating greater cart values than customers from Facebook. Over 70% of Pinterest users have made purchases through Pinterest, or from having discovered a product there.

Integrating Shopify into Pinterest

Shopify and Pinterest

Getting started with selling on Pinterest is straightforward and a lot of the legwork is done for you by simply having a Shopify account. You may not be aware, but Shopify already formats your products so they’ll appear as rich pins on Pinterest. This requires that you set up a Pinterest Business account, which is great as it also lays the groundwork for the followings steps.

Adding the Pinterest sales channel to Shopify

Next, you’ll want to head to the sales channel section of your Shopify admin backend. Once there, click on “Add sales channel” and choose Pinterest from the presented list. You can also simply follow this link to skip a few steps! Shopify will guide you through the rest of the process and you’ll be ready to sell your products on Pinterest!

There are some limitations to consider when using the Pinterest integration. Your customers won’t be allowed to use promo codes, gift cards or any loyalty programs. While this limitation can be frustrating to your core shoppers, this makes Pinterest a great platform for garnering first-time customers.

Shopify also encourages you to use keywords in your product titles and descriptions that pertain to the material, color, patterns, or brand of the products you offer. This will makes your products more discoverable when people are searching for items to pin. Be sure to avoid referencing any kind of deals or promotional offers within your descriptions or Pinterest will block your products from appearing on their site.

Create Great Content

Example of a Pinterest board

On Pinterest your content is essentially your brand and its products. Imagery that you would create for Twitter or Facebook may not work as well within the style of Pinterest. Ensure that your product photos are impeccable, uniform, and unique. The more you stand out and show your brand’s voice and style, the better your engagement rates will be.

Lifestyle shots also go a long way in generating interest and sales. These could be used to give people ideas of how your products can decorate their house, or how an outfit can be styled. Consider creating a board that shows your customers the things that inspire your brand and the products you create. Pinterest also allows for group boards, which are collaborative in nature and allow multiple people of your choosing to add pins. Using group boards are a great way to involve influencers that can further your brand’s reach and identity.

Paid Advertising

Everything we’ve discussed so far is completely free to utilize, but what if you want to see more results from your efforts? You have a handful of options to consider when you’re ready to put some money into advertising on Pinterest.

Example of a promoted Pin on Pinterest

All of Pinterest’s promoted pins see you paying for ads only when your specific impression goal is met. The areas they focus on are traffic, engagement, and awareness. Traffic campaigns will drive users to your e-commerce shop, or website. Engagement campaigns increase the clicks and repins that your posts receive, ensuring you’ll reach a wider audience. Finally, awareness campaigns show your promoted pins to more users, increasing your reach.

Promoted pins can be displayed to Pinterest users based on their location, language, device, and gender. This is another area where knowing your customer proves important. You want to show your pins to people that are likely to purchase your products. Once you’ve figure that out, you can target by keywords, interests, or by your audience. Audience targeting is an excellent way to reach people that have interacted with your brand on Pinterest or already purchased your products. There’s also the ability to create ‘actalike’ audiences, where you’re able to reach consumers that have similar habits to people that are in customer base.

This article is a part of our Social Commerce series. These articles highlight methods and best practices for improving your e-commerce sales through the use of various Shopify Sales Channels integrations such as Facebook, Twitter, Houzz, and The Shopify Buy Button.

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