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Can Pinterest drive ecommerce sales for startups?

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We typically use our own site for sales but I'm all for another outlet if it's been working for others. Just don't want to redirect my current users to Pinterest if it's not likely to drive sales much. Curious how others have used Pinterest to drive sales? Has it paid off?

4 Replies

Jose daVeiga
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Jose daVeiga Entrepreneur • Advisor
Technical Due Diligence & Operational (SaaS Services) Expert
I'd be interested to know too. I've heard mixed reviews on this. Seems that unless you are an early company with lots of pins or someone who can afford their ad spend...it's a bit harder. As for what I'm working on. We're taking a different approach. We're gathering post-sale (owners) advocates and creating owner/advocate product communities (only one specific product). It's a directory of products really but the idea is to gather and expose real-people activity around the products. Serves as a tool for sales - still to be proven. So far in the 2 weeks we started making an effort we already signed 3 brands ;) Cheers, Jose *Jose daVeiga* Tel: +[removed to protect privacy] [removed to protect privacy]
Todd McMurtrey
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Todd McMurtrey Entrepreneur
Global Marketing Operations Manager | Digital Marketing at Medtronic
My area of expertise is a bit more in the technical and advertising perspective, so this won't really cover managing Pinterest as a social channel specifically, but I hope it still answers your question.

From an organic (non-paid) perspective, I'd recommend checking out Pinterest's Rich Pins. This way if you do have a "share on pinterest" button on your site (or if people share products themselves), the pin will include all the right product information (and keep it updated). This includes things like pricing, availability, where to buy with a link to your product page on your website, etc.This requires a little bit of development to setup on the backend of your site, but it's pretty standard request in most e-commerce systems and so there are several solutions out there to help.

The benefits to rich pins are:
  • As items from your site are shared and reshared, it always maintains a link back to the original product page.
  • This is fairly "automagic" so once it is setup there's nothing really you need to do to keep it going (aside from occasionally making sure that you didn't accidentally break it somehow)
  • Information is updated in near-realtime, so if a product goes on sale or availability changes, all the pins are updated.
  • Rich Pins happen anytime someone shares the image from the product page, not just when you share it.
  • Having a link in the pin itself (not just in the comments) ensures people who discover your product on Pinterest are able to find where to buy the product (otherwise what can they do, search "pink dress" and hope they find you?).

From an advertising perspective, you can also do retargeting on Pinterest (showing your product ads on Pinterest to people who viewed that product on your site,) which is nice and fairly low cost. Or more simply, you can do interest-targeting on Pinterest as well (similar to Facebook), which can be good for generating interest frpm specific types of users.

From an ROI perspective, I'd view this in two ways:

  1. Is this generating and retaining the interest we want (in terms of purchases and lifetime engagement, or whatever goals you define)? There's lots of tracking and analytics available on the rich pins and advertising so this is easy to tie to a revenue value.
  2. Is this the best thing we can be doing with our limited resources and time or would another channel generate better returns.
Definitely experimentation is nice and you won't know returns until you try. For some markets, Pinterest would be at the top of my list of experiments, but for others it might make more sense to look elsewhere first. I personally don't have a ton of use cases for Pinterest specifically, but for broader social advertising, it can definitely be a great and low cost customer acquisition and retention strategy.

(Disclaimer: Everything here is my own opinion and does not necessarily reflect any current or past opinion, strategy, or recommendation of my current or past employers, or clients)).



Kristian Anketell
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Kristian Anketell Entrepreneur
Business Builder | Currently Constructing Big Tipping & Collective Avenue
To give a quick answer, well sort of...

If your main target market involves women, then yes. You will need to devise a different campaign for Pinterest, than say fb or Twitter, but as far as a brand awareness tool, along with sales when used well, it is a real positive.

If men are vital to your business success, go for a different social platform, probably Twitter.
Katya Constantine
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User Acquisition and Omni-Channel Marketing Expert
Hi Megan, I've had great success with a number of clients using Pinterest to drive sales. Katya ?
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