How Retail Brands Can Utilize Pinterest’s New eCommerce Features

Brittany Currieby Brittany Currie

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The coronavirus pandemic has inherently changed the future of eCommerce. With more and more people practicing social distancing, shopping online has become more of the norm rather than going to a physical retail store. This has compelled many companies to shift the way that they operate.

Pinterest has seen a tremendous increase in traffic over the past couple of weeks, which plays right into their plan to become the social media platform for eCommerce.

Even before the coronavirus pandemic shook our daily lives, Pinterest was already on their way to dominating social commerce. Even though it has fewer users than other social platforms, it is a powerful tool for selling products online.

Out of their 250 million monthly users, 97% of them say that they use the platform to plan purchases, and 87% of users have bought a product because of Pinterest. On top of that, it has the largest average sales order (around $50) of any social media marketplace, and it’s the second-largest source of social media traffic to Shopify stores.

Even though Pinterest is dominating social commerce, people aren’t flocking to Pinterest to buy products like they do on Amazon – yet. But the platform has set its sights on becoming more of a product discovery engine than a social media platform. And when you think about it – Pinterest does have more in common with Amazon or Google than it does with Twitter or even Facebook. People don’t use Pinterest to interact with other people or share life updates. Instead, they go to look for ideas – and products that you could be selling online.

Until recently, users sought out Pinterest for inspiration and began the buying process on other sites. Now, the platform is looking to change that dynamic with some of their newest features. They are defining themselves as a shopping network – with new features that allow pinners to buy just about anything they want directly from their Pinterest feed.

This is obviously beneficial for the consumer – they can purchase items that are tailored to them directly from Pinterest without ever having to leave the platform – but it also works to benefit retailers. Data supplied from Pinterest shows that most of their users are searching for generic terms – not specific brands. This gives smaller businesses the opportunity to get their products in front of users while they browse in real-time.

Now, let’s take a deeper look at the new features recently added to the Pinterest platform and examine how retailers can leverage them to market to its ever-growing size.


Pinterest’s New (or Updated) Features

Verified Merchant Program

Pinterest has recently rolled out a Verified Merchant Program for retailers on the platform. Pinterest will allow retailers to be verified – giving them the iconic blue (but in this case, red) checkmark – which will make the retailer’s product eligible for distribution on Pinterest’s new shopping experiences (more on that in a minute). Verified merchants will also gain access to new features sooner and have early access to organic and paid conversion insights.


Pinterest Catalogs

Pinterest Catalogs, which gives retailers the ability to upload their product catalog into Pinterest in order to create ads and Shoppable Pins, has been upgraded and efficiently optimized to help decrease the “time from feed ingestion to Product Pin creation”.

This update also comes with new metrics, user experience enhancements and allows retailers to schedule uploads of their feed.


Dynamic Retargeting

Another expansion from Pinterest is their new Dynamic Retargeting options. Brands can now retarget using exact or similar products that users have searched or saved on Pinterest to global markets. This update comes with additional optimization levers to give advertisers more control over their ads as well.


Shopping Experiences

Pinterest has also debuted new shopping experiences across the platform, giving Pinners more options than ever to purchase products they find.

1. Shop from Boards

One of the new shopping experiences is the ability for pinners to shop directly from their saved boards. Users will find a “Shop” tab now displayed on their own boards.

When visiting their board, users can click on the “Shop” tab, which will pull a selection of products available for purchase that the user has previously saved to the board. This essentially turns the board into a shopping list for the consumer.

Note – currently this feature is for fashion and home décor products and only shows in-stock products.


2. Shop from Search

In addition, Pinterest has also added a shopping capability to their search results. This will make it easier for pinners to shop in-stock products directly when they are searching on the platform.

Now when users are searching for generic terms – curtains, office décor, spring clothing – they will be able to shop for products directly in the results. It will also give them the option to filter by brand as well as sorting results by price.

This is where a number of significant opportunities open up for retailers – especially smaller merchants. With 97% of searches being unbranded, smaller retailers have the ability to put themselves directly in the results, from which pinners can buy their products.


3. Shop from Pins

In addition to adding these shopping capabilities on boards and in the search results, Pinterest has also upgraded their visual search features to allow you to shop for alternative options to the products you like in a pin.

By clicking the “Shop Similar” tab, users will be able to view in-stock products similar to those in the pin. This helps to streamline the buying process by showing users immediately available products based on their searches and visual appeal.



7 Ways Retailers Can Capitalize on Pinterest Updates

The crux of all of these new features and updates relies on being able to use them correctly. Pinterest can roll many shopping features to help customers shop on their platform, but if retailers aren’t utilizing them correctly, then it’s all for not. Here’s what you can do to make sure that you’re getting your share of the Pinterest market:


1. Make Sure You Have a Business Account

Step one should be pretty simple, but you want to make sure that you have a working business account through Pinterest. Without this, you won’t be able to create ads or view analytics. Plus, you’ll lose out on a huge portion of Pinterest’s commerce capabilities.


2. Sign Up for the Verified Program

Pinterest’s new Verified Merchant Program, as previously discussed, gives benefits to merchants – if you join the program. Luckily, joining is pretty simple. You just need to:

Connect Your Catalog

In order to upload your products into Pinterest, you’ll need to have a claimed website on Pinterest, a data source formatted correctly, and the Pinterest tag. You can read more about uploading your catalog here.


Install the Pinterest Tag

This allows you to track actions people take on your website after they view your Pinterest Ads, so it’s pretty important that you install this correctly. Learn more about setting up the Pinterest Tag here.


Meet Pinterest’s Merchant Requirements

Currently, it looks like Pinterest is manually vetting retailers for their Verified Merchant Program using the guidelines outlined here.

Some of the guidelines set forth include:

  • Must have a presence outside Pinterest
  • Must not be resale or consignment
  • Must have a high-quality website
  • Must have current information about products
  • Must have easy to find return policy
  • Must have easy to find contact information for customer service
  • Must have easy to find shipping policy


3. Upload Your Product Catalog

Even if you don’t qualify for the Verified Merchant Program at the moment, it’s still vital that you upload your product catalog into Pinterest. Without this, you won’t be able to generate product pins or allow Pinners to shop directly from your business.


4. Create Shoppable Pins

A good portion of the new Pinterest features revolves around Shoppable Pins. If you’re not creating Shoppable Pins, then shopping from a board or from the search results doesn’t do you any good. Instead, you need to be creating these interactable pins in order to sell through the platform.

With the Shoppable Pins display, white dots will appear – indicating different featured items available for purchase. It will also advertise the price, availability and a product description that, when clicked, links directly to your eCommerce page.

Retailers can use Pinterest’s tagging tool to utilize this feature. As you create new pins, you can simply tag the image with the product page link of the featured item. If you are a larger eCommerce brand with thousands of products, it might be best to utilize a third-party tool, like Curalate, to help you automate this process.


5. Use Ads

In addition to creating Shoppable Pins, retailers also need to be utilizing shopping ads. These adverts allow retailers to promote their products and reach more pinners. Again, with 97% of search queries being unbranded, you want to get your products in as many search results as possible, and ads can help boost your presence. Also, in terms of the ads themselves, Pinterest actually has one of the most integrated advertising options – with ads displaying seamlessly with organic results within the feed.


6. Don’t Forget SEO

Yes, ads can help boost your visibility, but just like search marketing, you’ll want your organic posts to show up as well. If you aren’t optimizing your pins correctly, the chances of that happening diminish greatly.

Just like with any other SEO program, you want to start off with keyword research to determine what your target audience is looking for and how they are phrasing it. What someone types into Pinterest could vary greatly from what they type into Amazon or Google, so be mindful of the platform – don’t just automatically assume your previous keyword research will apply unilaterally.

Once you have a solid keyword list, make sure you are optimizing your pin’s information with those keywords in mind. The first thing to consider is the pin’s title. Not only is the title going to impact Pinterest’s algorithm, but it also impacts the user as they search for products. Titles can be as long as 100 characters, but only about the first 30 show up in the feed. Like meta titles, it’s best to keep keywords to the left to increase user experience.

You also want to optimize the pin’s description. This allows you to provide additional information to the user and entice them to click. Descriptions can be up to 500 characters. Try to use the keywords you identified within the copy, but don’t overuse or stuff them. Also, keep in mind that the descriptions on your actual product pages can impact what is shown on Pinterest, so make sure those are correctly optimized as well.


7. Add Pin Options to Product Pages

Finally, this tactic takes place outside of the Pinterest platform, but it allows visitors to find your eCommerce product pages to pin your products to their board. This is a great way to get more traction on Pinterest by allowing people to share it on their feeds. Not only does it save to their designated board, but it will also show up in the personal feed, which increases your exposure to a larger audience and helps gain critical visibility.



Final Thoughts

With social commerce on the rise, Pinterest is emerging as the go-to source for advertisers and marketers looking to expand their eCommerce’s presence. With Shoppable Product Pins up 2.5x over the past year and user engagement up 44%, it looks like Pinterest is fast on its way to dominating social commerce in the future.

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