Pinterest for Ecommerce: 7 Ways to Use It + Brands that are Killing It

Reading Time: 10 minutes

With 93% of users using the platform to plan out their purchases, it’s not surprising that Pinterest for ecommerce has gotten so big – and not just for DIY and fashion lovers.

Pinterest has over 100 million active users, 176 million registered accounts and a reported value of $11 billion. According to a study, a pin generates an average of $0.78 in sales and has an average order value of $58.95 per Pinterest user. This is more than the average order value of a Facebook user at $55 and Twitter at $49.29.

There are many fantastic ways on how to use Pinterest for business like sharing content, building brand awareness, showing expertise, creating resources for followers to use and so much more. When people see value in what you pin, it can help you attract new customers and harness your appeal to your followers.

In this article, we will show you seven fantastic ways to use Pinterest to market your ecommerce business and examples of brands we can all take inspiration from. We will also show you how to create a Pinterest account for your business, the benefits of doing Pinterest marketing and some of the challenges you may experience along the way.

How to create a business account

If you are already on Pinterest and want to keep the pins, boards and followers you have so far, you can convert it into a Pinterest business account.

Log in to your account and go to Pinterest for Business. Click on ‘Convert Now’ and supply the required details – business name, business type and website.

how to create a Pinterest business account

Click on ‘Convert’.

If you are new to Pinterest or already have a personal account but don’t want to convert it, you can create a new business account on Pinterest.

Go to Pinterest for Business and click on ‘Join as a business’. Fill out the different fields – email, password, business name, business type and website.

how to create a new pinterest business account

Click on ‘Create account’.

Influence buying and marketing decisions

Having Pinterest as part of an overall marketing strategy works two ways – brands are able to listen to what their followers are saying and Pinterest helps brands sell and inspire people to buy their products.

52% of roughly 1,500 active Pinterest users surveyed said that Pinterest helped them find items they want to buy. 30% of the respondents also said they bought something online after viewing a content on Pinterest.

Nordstrom is an upscale retailer that has been in the fashion industry for more than 100 years. One of its goals for using Pinterest as part of their customer-centric social media strategy is to create personalized and relevant shopping experiences for their customers.

When it first joined Pinterest, it aligned itself to the DIY spirit of its early pinners. Eventually, they started pinning snapshots from Fashion Week and created boards styled appropriately for the Winter, Fall, Summer and Spring seasons. They currently have more than 500,000 pins and 67 boards updated with stunning and engaging images.

On Pinterest, they have a featured board called ‘By the Book: Nordy Catalog’ where followers can get early access to Nordstrom’s newest styles of the season before being officially released in stores.

nordy catalog on pinterest

They also have a ‘Top Pins: Nordstrom.com’ board where they put together all the top pins for the week based on their analytics data. Based on the top pins, they come up with similar content for followers to enjoy.

Top Pins: Nordstrom.com board

Even outside Pinterest, Nordstrom manages to create Pinterest-centered customer experiences by having a ‘Pin it’ button on their product pages.

Pin it button on Nordstrom website

Customers can also enter ‘top pinned gifts’ on the search bar to see Nordstrom products that have been popularly pinned so far. This generates thousands of impressions and significant site traffic and demand for Nordstrom. On top of that, they also have dedicated category pages on their website for Top Pinned Accessories, Top Pinned Shoes and Top Pinned Home & Gift items.

Top Pinned product categories on nordstrom

Pinterest’s influence in Nordstrom’s marketing strategy also extended to their physical stores. To test how its most popular pins performed in stores, Nordstrom attached Pinterest labels on the items and checked the inventory performance.

Pinterest labels on Nordstrom merchandise

Initial feedback was that adding Pinterest labels validated the popularity of their products. It was eventually rolled out to all of Nordstrom’s 117 stores – a testimony that data and activities of an online community can affect merchandising decisions.

Inspire people to take action

‘DIY’ and ‘Pinterest’ are words that will always go together and with tons of creative ideas that abound on the platform, it is really possible for brands to bank on this and inspire people to take action. Case in point is Lowe’s and how it motivates people to do DIY home improvements all with the help of Pinterest.

Lowe’s is a chain of retail home improvement and appliance stores. They sell home appliances, paint, furniture, tools, hardware, flooring and everything you will need to make your house a home.

A huge part of Lowe’s marketing strategy has always been to help people feel they can take on any home improvement project. They started it by having a Creative Ideas page on their site where they feature home improvement projects, makeover ideas and decorating tips.

Taking advantage of Pinterest’s ability in sharing site content on the platform, Lowe’s installed the ‘Pin It’ button on their Creative Ideas page so people browsing their articles can pin or bookmark projects they want to do later.

Lowe's DIY projects on pinterest

Once pinned, other people on Pinterest can discover it and pin it on their own boards.

Of its 65 boards, Lowe’s Build it!’ board is its most popular where featured DIY home improvement projects receive thousands of repins.

Lowe’s Build it!' board on pinterest

Of its 5,600+ pins, its most popular is their create-your-own colorful doormat project. It has gotten more than 200,000 repins, validating Lowe’s strategy of inspiring people to do DIY projects. Moreover, the emotional investments where people feel empowered after completing a project all by themselves far exceeds the cost of the materials needed, which is important from both the brand and consumer standpoint.

most repinned on lowe's pinterest

Aside from these Pinterest ecommerce tools, Lowe’s also uses Pinterest data to gather insights for new campaigns and products. More than the affirmation that people find their content relevant and helpful, Pinterest also helps validate some of their marketing decisions such as when a particular color or style trends.

They also use Pinterest data to see how the ‘Pin It’ button performs on their site and email newsletters. Products that receive a lot of pins are featured in other platforms and marketing channels with the hope that people also transact with the product.

Promote traffic back to site

Aside from food & drink, DIY crafts and events, the most pinned and browsed category on Pinterest is home decor. This opens up a great opportunity for home decor brands in promoting their products and reaching design-forward people looking for advice on how to decorate their space.

Made.com is an online retailer of designer furniture. They sell sofas, chairs, tables, lighting, bedroom fixtures and more. Prior to opening their store in 2010, they already knew that if they want to be successful, they need to reach their ideal audience on Pinterest.

Made.com started marketing on Pinterest by creating boards focused solely on popular design trends. They now have 67 boards and more than 10,000 pins reflecting a wider range of designs, styles and even behind-the-scenes footages of their work.

One of their goals for using Pinterest is to drive traffic to their site where the bulk of their product information are found. They used Rich Pins to add relevant product information such as description, availability and price with the belief that these details will encourage people to interact with the pin.

The link just above the product name and the ‘Visit’ button on the bottom right are also clickable, which all lead to the Made.com product page. For anyone interested to buy the product, they just need to click on the link to proceed to checkout.

Made.com's Rich Pins

The use of Rich Pins was effective. They saw a 36% increase in traffic to their site plus a 51% increase in conversions. The 106% increase in transactions and 173% in revenue were also a direct effect of the Rich Pins and their diverse set of content.

Aside from Rich Pins, Made.com also maximizes Pinterest by having a dedicated board entitled ‘Made Unboxed’, which is a real-time gallery of photos uploaded by Made.com’s actual customers.

use of rich pins on made.com's pinterest

Like Nordstrom and Lowe’s, Made.com also uses Pinterest analytics to see the types of pins that resonate with their followers and use it as a basis to widen their content for blogs, social media and email marketing.

Increase average order value and sales

If Instagram has a ‘Shop Now’, Pinterest has a similar ecommerce feature in the form of its Buyable Pins. These blue pins simply mean the product is available for purchase. Buyable Pins are available on iOS and Android in the US for now. If you want to make shopping on mobile easy for your customers, Buyable Pins is a great option.

Buyable Pins by Macy's

Dozens of brands are now able to increase their average order value and sales with the help of Buyable Pins. Shophearts, an online fashion store for boho chic dresses and vintage styles, was able to drive sales up to 15% with the help of Buyable Pins.

What’s interesting about this is 90% of their customers from the blue pins were new to Shophearts. Aside from the increase in sales, Shophearts was also able to increase their site traffic by 20%.

Blue buyable pins by shophearts

Outside the use of Buyable Pins, Shophearts also has well-curated boards with items sorted carefully according to themes. This makes it easy to showcase not only buyable products, but how inspirational their items are.

Another ecommerce store reaping success with Buyable Pins is FlyAway BlueJay, an online store that sells handmade pieces from artisans all over the world. By using Buyable Pins, they were able to increase their overall sales by 20% and overall site traffic by 28%.

Buyable Pins by FlyAway BlueJay

Aside from expanding its sales, Buyable Pins was also able to bring in new audiences for the brand especially after discovering that 100% of their Buyable Pins came from customers who have only known about them through Pinterest.

Expand reach and sales

Especially for small businesses trying to make their presence felt in ecommerce, Pinterest is a helpful tool to expand one’s reach and sales. Like most businesses drawn to Pinterest’ visual nature, peer-to-peer ecommerce site, Etsy decided to put up a presence on Pinterest to help showcase its sellers’ handmade and vintage items.

Upon discovering that some Etsy items were already being pinned on Pinterest, they added the ‘Pin It’ button on their product pages, allowing shoppers to bookmark items while browsing the Etsy site. Pinned Etsy items also come with the proper attribution so the correct shop name and seller are properly called out.

Expand reach and sales on pinterest

Elephantine is one of Etsy’s many sellers. Inspired by the site traffic received from Pinterest, they decided to pin new products to their own boards as soon as it was up for sale. With data insights like number of pins, repins and likes, Elephantine was able to promote their products with average views per week increasing by 22% and sales per week increasing by 20%.

Similar to Etsy, DaWanda, an online marketplace for unique handmade items, used Pinterest to showcase their products and increase their brand visibility. Since their target market are people who love to do DIY projects, Pinterest ecommerce marketing came as a natural choice for them.

DaWanda in English on Pinterest

By pinning frequently, using Rich Pins and creating boards according to themes, DaWanda’s Pin impressions grew by more than 130% and their referral traffic by 100%. Pinterest ecommerce helped them generate an average order value that is 13% higher than their other marketing platforms.

Create impressive vision boards

Vision boards are tools that focus on a specific theme or idea using photos. The collage of photos are meant to create inspiration and from a business standpoint, to represent business goals. When used correctly, vision boards can create better brand awareness and make products more relatable to consumers.

L’Oreal Paris is an innovator of beauty products. After months of using Pinterest, they discovered that their target market are on the platform to shop and discover new beauty products and not just scroll through hundreds of pins for fun.

To this end, they decided to focus their strategy on making their followers feel beautiful by giving beauty tips, makeup hacks and information on the latest L’Oreal products. Their boards and pins are all focused on three core business goals – drive sales (through Rich Pins), build a community and promote brand affinity.

To launch their new product, the True Match Lumi Glow Illuminator, L’Oreal used Cinematic Pins in addition to their Promoted Pins. Cinematic Pins is a motion-based ad format exclusive to mobile Pinterest users. When the page is scrolled, the images move and when the scrolling stops, the image also stops from moving.

Cinematic pins on Pinterest by L'Oreal

Through this enhanced brand storytelling strategy, L’Oreal was able to reach 5 million Pinterest users and increase their average engagement rate for their facial highlighter product by 20%. Additionally, the campaign raised purchase intent for the product by 30.9%.

With Cinematic Pins, brands are not only able to up the ante when it comes to their vision boards, but also experience unexpected and significant business growth in the process.

Grow your mobile marketplace

No one can deny that mobile marketing is big. And with Pinterest’s mobile SDK, brands can now experience major increases in referral traffic and impressions, which was the case for Poshmark, a fun way for people to buy and sell fashion items straight from their mobile device.

After realizing that Pinterest can help them grow their presence after they discovered that users started pinning items they wanted to buy and sell on the platform, Poshmark adopted Pinterest’s mobile SDK, making it easier for customers to create and share pins straight from their device.

With the mobile SDK, Poshmark was able to increase their referral traffic 2.5 times more than their initial count and impressions 3 times more than their usual numbers.

use of Pinterest mobile SDK by Poshmark

Complementing their use of the mobile SDK, Poshmark also uses Rich Pins and Pinterest analytics in making essential product information easily available and understanding how product categories and images resonate with its followers.

Another ecommerce company that experienced growth via Pinterest mobile is Gardener’s Supply Co. – a seller of earth-friendly wares.

Since using Buyable Pins, they were able to multiply their sales 2.7 times and drive their mobile visits 22 times more than any other social platform they are using. What is also interesting is 95% of the people who purchased from them using Buyable Pins were new customers.

Also, while they have been targeting customers in the 45-64 age range, their discovered that their strongest conversions actually came from 18-24 year olds.

use of buyable pins by Gardener's Supply Co.

Reaching a young, mobile-ready market was not only Pinterest’s contribution to Gardener’s Supply Co.’s growth, but they were also able to create a business out of new products.

Before, they were only focused on functional products like tools, planters and composters. Now, they are selling holiday decorations like pinecone string lights and home accessories such as aroma oil diffusers.

Analysis of Pinterest for ecommerce

With all these case studies, we can deduce the following benefits of Pinterest for ecommerce:

  • Pinterest influences purchase decisions
  • It brings in new customers and attracts new age groups
  • It facilitates shopping on mobile and social through Buyable Pins and Rich Pins
  • It teaches the value of user sharing through Pin It buttons and creation of vision boards
  • Keeps you in the loop for emerging trends
  • Pinterest Analytics help you understand users and use data for future marketing campaigns

However, probably one of Pinterest ecommerce’s biggest challenges revolves around copyright issues.

Pinterest may be taking advantage of a provision in the Internet Service Providers Act, but it leaves pinners liable to images they upload but do not own. Unless everyone takes this strongly every time they pin an image, your product images circulating on Pinterest may not have the proper attribution such as your business name and a link to your ecommerce site. Product imitations may be on the rise too without you even knowing it.

Another potential challenge is when there are too many links pointing back to your site, which can be considered by the platform as link spamming. Pinterest used to have an affiliate marketing program where pinners received a small commission in exchange of recommending a product on their boards. “Pin It to Win It” contests were also eventually restricted as Pinterest found it a way for brands to manipulate their position in organic search.

Conclusion

With plenty of ways on how to use Pinterest for business, it is very possible that your brand can experience growth on Pinterest even if what you are selling does not fall into the popular DIY and fashion categories. If an industrial brand like General Electric found a way to make their brand work on Pinterest, you certainly can do too.

Maximize Pinterest ecommerce tools such as Rich Pins, Buyable Pins and Pin it buttons that you can integrate on your product pages to complement your marketing efforts on the platform.

When using Rich Pins, make sure to optimize your content by including the price, the right call-to-action and a product description within the considerable 200-300 character count. Don’t just show your products in an image; provide a context for it too.

And to push Pinterest engagement among your followers, consider sending out post-purchase emails inviting shoppers to create pins of their purchased items on their own boards. This not only makes your Pinterest account more diverse and well-participated, but it also helps build your social proof.

Also, use Pinterest’s messaging feature to proactively engage with your followers. You can directly reach out to your potential influencers who can blog or pin your products on their own Pinterest accounts.

Are you using Pinterest for ecommerce too? Let us know what you are doing uniquely in the comments below.

About the Author

John Komarek is the founder of Pixelter. He helped over 63 e-commerce businesses boost their mobile sales by up to 183.5%. He uses advanced UX research, A/B testing, and AI-driven personalization to deliver the results. Learn more about how he can help you grow your sales.

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