Pinterest has arrived, and it has done so with a bang. It seems as if everyone is talking about this new social network, but why is there so much interest? Why is there so much buzz around what is effectively an online pin board?
By Scot Wingo, CEO and co-founder of ChannelAdvisor
Recent reports indicate that Pinterest’s traffic quadrupled from September to December last year, which is quite remarkable. This congregation of eyes and minds presents a perfect, untapped audience for online retailers.
Consumers have come up with many ways to use and have fun with Pinterest, many users even claiming cheekily to be “addicted” to the picture-pinning site. They create wish lists by Pinning items that they like.
Foodies use Pinterest to share food ideas and recipes, and it is common to find brides-to-be Pinning items for their wedding from flower arrangements to bridesmaid dress options.
All these activities can lead directly to online shopping. At least half of the content and activity on Pinterest is product-related. Fashion is the biggest category, but you also find a lot of activity around sporting goods, electronics and home and garden.
Take 12 million actively engaged consumers, all discussing products on an open forum, and you have a brand new e-commerce retail opportunity just waiting to be explored.
Cutting to the basics, engaging with consumers is what social networks are all about. While there are limited opportunities on Pinterest for branding – mainly consisting of simply adding your name, logo and a short profile to your page – you can have a big impact through engaging with consumers.
Many retailers fill their Boards with their own products, and that’s definitely part of the strategy. But the most successful retailers on Pinterest are mostly repinning items onto their Boards from other Pinners.
The successful retailers on Pinterest engage with their customers with more than just Pins. Among other things, they follow their most active Pinners. You’re likely to have a small number of pollinators that drive 80-90% of the activity – be sure to actively embrace them in return.
You should take engagement further by commenting on Pinterest. At the end of the day, you know a lot more about your products and brand than anyone else. Commenting on Pins in a value-added way will give the audience that personal touch. For example, if a user Pins one of your shirts or jackets, then comment on it by recommending a pair of jeans to match.
A pool of consumers this large provides an ideal platform for market research. There will probably already be quite a bit of activity around your brand on Pinterest.
It’s easy to see what’s happening because every Pin remembers its source and Pinterest has a handy search mechanism for finding all of the Pins from one source. From here, you can research how products are resonating with the audience.
Once you’ve created your Pinterest presence and engaged with your audience, you can stimulate further activity by integrating Pinterest with your e-commerce website via two integration points: Pinterest Follow buttons and Pin-it buttons.
This is something that the two major marketplaces, eBay and Amazon, have just made possible in the US. They have added a small red ‘P’ button to their pallet of social media sharing options, alongside Facebook and Twitter.
Don’t miss out!
While Pinterest is still new territory for everyone involved, it is something that online retailers should be getting involved in and experimenting with. The opportunity to increase brand loyalty, conduct market research, drive website traffic and ultimately increase online revenue is not to be missed.