Pinterest is the hottest topic in the area of social discovery at the moment. The social networking site has become the talked about channel for marketers and retailers. But why is it suddenly so popular? And what can it offer the world of ecommerce? Is it really worth your time? After all, itís certainly not the first social network and most definitely wonít be the last.
While Pinterest has yet to evolve, or may never evolve, into a fully fledged sales channel, it is well worth your time. The visually stimulating and creative website is attracting droves of members and a tremendous amount of online traffic. In fact, recent reports indicate that Pinterestís traffic quadrupled from September to December last year. This translated into significant new traffic for retailers who are selling pinned items. And there it is; the reason to fully embrace Pinterest: more website traffic and more online sales.
People are not just chatting about anything on Pinterest--thereís no sports talk or ďI love my catĒ. Itís already more commercial than Facebook and Twitter. Itís people saying ďI love this productĒ. Consumers create wish lists by pinning items that they like. Foodies use Pinterest to share recipes and itís common to find brides-to-be pinning items for their wedding day.
All these activities lead directly to online shopping. In fact, 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.
Pinterest has created the perfect recipe for online retailers: combine 12 million actively engaged consumers who are discussing products with an open community, stir together and you have a new ecommerce channel. Here are a few tips for getting ahead on Pinterest.
1. Research consumersí views
Most likely there is already quite a bit of activity around your products on Pinterest. Itís easy to see whatís 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 your products are resonating with the Pinterest audience. To start with, type http://pinterest.com/source/yourwebURL.com into your browserís address field. This will show you the recent pins from your website, in the example below we visited http://pinterest.com/source/thewhitecompany.com/.
2. Engage with consumers
While there arenít many opportunities for branding, you can have a big impact through engaging the community. After all, isnít that the point of social media, to interact with your shoppers on a personal level and build relationships? Many retailers fill their boards with their own products as followers are more likely to be interested in complete boards, and thatís definitely part of the strategy. However, 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. Among other things, they follow their most active pinners. Youíre likely to have a small number of influencers that drive 80 to 90 percent of the activity--embrace them.
3. Comment on products
You should also comment on Pinterest, as you know more about your products than anyone. Comment on pins in a value-added way. For example, if someone comments ďI wish this bag was available in blueĒ, let them know about a similar product available in blue or if a shipment in blue will be available soon. However, remember not to stretch yourself outside of your sphere of expertise.
4. Name your price
When pinning, if you enter a numerical amount in the description, the platform will automatically add the price to the corner of the image and list that pin in the gifts section of the website. This way, you will expand the visibility of your merchandise beyond just your followers. Additionally, listing the price can simplify the purchase process once the shopper is on your website. This is ideal during seasonal sales such as Christmas, when retailers tailor their boards to reflect seasonal stock.
5. Integrate with Pinterest
While posting to Pinterest, there is no reason why retailers should not include these images on Facebook and Twitter as well. Pinterest integrates with both social sites and with a click of a button your latest Pins appear on all social channels. The more you share, the more likely your fans and followers are going to share too. Also, once youíve created your Pinterest presence, you can stimulate activity by integrating Pinterest with your ecommerce website through two integration points: Pinterest Follow buttons and Pin-it buttons.
These steps can help you capture a share of Pinterestís high traffic volume and increase your online sales. While it is still new territory, online retailers should be getting involved early as it has great potential.
Scot Wingo is chief executive and cofounder of ecommerce software provider ChannelAdvisor.
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