Pinterest: The Social Media Platform that Online Retailers Can’t Live Without

by on September 26, 2012 · 3 comments

Pinterest for Online Retailers

The rapidly growing social media platform is fast becoming a marketing tool that eCommerce business owners can’t afford to live without. It was revealed earlier this year that Pinterest not only refers more traffic to online stores than YouTube, Google and LinkedIn combined, but the traffic from Pinterest actually converts better, too.

I’ve got you Pinterested now, haven’t I? (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

What You Need to Know About Pinterest

Pinterest is an online social pinboard that allows users to share and upload images of their favorite things they find on the internet. Each image uploaded to Pinterest links back to the source (your website). For online retailers, this means an opportunity to get a lot of targeted traffic coming to your store and all it will cost you is your time.

How to Get Started

Pinterest is currently on an “invite only” system for membership, but it’s nowhere near as difficult or exclusive as it sounds and most users will get an “invite” within 24-48 hours. You can request a free invite here.

WordPress users: Get the Pinterest “Pin It” plugin here:

How it Works

When you or someone else ‘pins’ an image of your product for sale, it goes on to Pinterest boards for other users to view, like and repin. When a user views a pin featuring your product, they will see your link back to your website which makes it easy for users to click through to your product listing on your website and make a purchase.

Pinterest Benefits for eCommerce Businesses

Who Uses It?

Pinterest is primarily made up of females, about 80%. As a marketing tool, this means that Pinterest is best suited for retailers of women’s clothing and accessories, homeware, weight loss products, cosmetics and other items that appeal to females.

However, if you sell more male-orientated items, don’t overlook the opportunity to promote items that women might buy men as gifts. In fact, Pinterest recently launched a dedicated Gifts tab where users can search for gifts within predefined price ranges. This is a fantastic place to get your products in front of targeted, ready buyers.

Benefits of Pinterest to eCommerce Businesses

How to Use Pinterest to Make More Money on Your eCommerce Website

Savvy online sellers are already using Pinterest to promote their items and pull buyers to their marketplace listings or website. Pinterest works best for retailers selling well photographed or unique items. Here is an example:

Benefits of Pinterest for eCommerce Businesses

In case you are having trouble deciphering the image above, the pin features a cat bed. Pets and pet products are very popular on Pinterest, so it’s no surprise to see this pin feature prominently.

Here’s another example of a well executed pin:

Benefits of Pinterest for eCommerce Businesses

This pin uses well photographed products and gels well with other non-promotional pins related to home cooking and baking, which is another hot topic on Pinterest. The source of this pin is from Amazon and when you click the Amazon link, the URL takes you direct to the product listing, rather than just, allowing the visitor to buy the product. Great for retailers who sell on their own websites as well as marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay.

How to Create a Pin That Stands Out, Gets Clicks and Makes Sales

As I’ve touched on, pins need to be well photographed and should feature unique or interesting items that will capture Pinterest user’s attention. A quick surf around the Pinterest home page will reveal the style and quality that users expect from a pin.

Pinterest isn’t just for retailers of physical products either; if you have a digital dog training product, a cute image of a dog being whacky, accompanied a benefit for the dog owner, spelled out in text such as “Stop your dog from biting” will reach out to pinners.

Benefits of Pinterest for eCommerce Businesses

In order to increase your sales generated from a pin, you should think carefully about the URL you use to link the pin to your website or marketplace listings.

It may seem obvious, but don’t simply link to your website’s homepage. Instead, link the user direct to the product listing that you have pinned. This will make it a lot easier for the user to find the product you have showcased and actually purchase the item. In other words, when adding a link, think of a result (a sale) not a destination (your website).

To get started, surf around the site to get a feel for the content. It’s important that you understand the associated culture of the Pinterest platform before you start pinning your own content. You must ensure that your pins are similar to others on the site, in terms of style, to prevent you appearing as though you are “spamming” or “trolling” the site.

You should also read over Pinterest’s pin etiquette guidelines here.

Will you try using Pinterest as part of your social strategy?

About the Author

Alice is an education specialist for SaleHoo connects 92,000 online retailers with wholesale suppliers. Their product range includes a wholesale supplier directory and eCommerce software.

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Alice has written 1 articles on Expand2Web

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

eileen lonergan September 26, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Wow, what a well thought out article. I am in love with Pinterest! This post shows you how to add a price to an item, which may be helpful to your readers, Just add a $ and the price and the banner with the price will be draped along the left side of the image. Thank you Alice!


jared September 30, 2012 at 6:54 pm

Pinterest has become one of our top referrers in regards to leads. Pinterest is definitely a site that more ecommerce sites need to take advantage of.


Sam October 9, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Great article, this will help me improve my product marketing.


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