Recently Pinterest announced that more than 400 million monthly users around the world come to the platform to find inspiration. As the world continues to grapple with the pandemic, consumers develop new behaviours, online and offline. Pinterest is a marvellous match for these new planning and shopping habits. The way people engage on the platform is extremely well tailored to e-commerce purchases. And, with global e-commerce spend expected to reach 15% of total retail sales in 2020, it may be time to up your Pinterest for e-Commerce game! Here's how.
1. Design a Pinterest sales funnel based on your customer's journey
Your starting point when considering to use Pinterest for e-commerce marketing is your sales funnel. On Pinterest, users are in discovery mode. Since they're at the top of the sales funnel, they're very open to discover new people, brands, ideas and solutions to their problems. People discover products and content on Pinterest through keyword searches and by clicking on visuals that they're attracted to.
It's important to be intentional about marketing on Pinterest and know your customer's journey. On Pinterest, the customer journey is typically 2-3 months. Pinterest users are planners. They're looking for ideas and saving them to their boards 2 to 3 months before they actually buy. They're not ready to buy right now, unless they have a very pressing problem to solve.
Here's an example of an intentional customer journey on Pinterest:
They Discover you
A potential client discovers your pin and clicks through to your website. This person "stumbles" across your image on Pinterest as a result of a keyword search or a visual search with their camera (Pinterest Lens).
You Nurture them
Capture and nurture the interest shown by a person after click- through. Where do you tend to make most conversions? Lead them there. This could be your e-mail list, Facebook group, Instagram stories, YouTube,...
You offer a product
People buy from you when they know, like and trust you. When you build a relationship with your target audience and they come to know, like and trust you, they're more likely to buy from you when you make an offer.
Did you know that this year, Pinners started to search for holiday ideas earlier than ever? Before 2020, people on Pinterest start making holiday plans in September. This year, they started searching and saving for holidays in April... There was a threefold increase in searches for "Christmas gift ideas", 8 months before December!**
** Source: Earlier than ever - Holiday 2020
2. Optimize for SEO
Once you're clear on the sales funnel and customer journey, you need to spend some time on building a solid foundation that will help you market your products on Pinterest. Your Pinterest page is your shop window. It needs to optimized for SEO, so that your target audience can actually find the products you have on offer. Boards play an important role in providing context to the Pinterest algorithm about your content. They are essentially the gateway to your audience. When saving your pins to the boards on your Pinterest page, make sure they are closely related to the board topic.
Pinterest page SEO optimization in a nutshell:
Pinterest is a search engine. List the keywords and key phrases that people use to find your products. Use them in titles, descriptions, boards & pins.
Create/update 10 boards based on your target audience's interests and related to your product(s). Use key phrases in board titles & descriptions.
Activate Product Pins* for your store. Post eye-catching product pins and any other relevant types of content. Write keyword-rich pin titles and descriptions.
*Product Pins are pins that link directly to your online store. They contain extra information such as the price, availability, and description. This information comes from your shop's inventory. Any time you change this information in your store, the information in the Product Pin will change too. Consult the documentation for your e-commerce platform to find out how to activate them.
SEO value of product titles & descriptions
Product Pins pull meta-data, such as the product title and description, from your website. If the product title and description in your store do not contain your main keywords, the Pinterest algorithm is unlikely to pull up your products in keyword searches by your target audience.
Example: If you sell a model of men's sandals with product title "Summer Chic" in your store, it will show up on Pinterest as a Product Pin with that same pin title. A much better product title would be "Men's Leather Sandals | Men's Strap Sandals | Summer Chic". The more specific you are, the better your chances of the product being shown to the right audience. This will not only improve SEO ranking on Pinterest, but on other search engines too!
3. Create a Shopping experience: Shop tab
Making your products visible in the Shop tab is another great way to get your products in front of the right people, when they're deciding what to buy.
There are two ways to create a Shop experience on Pinterest:
Connect your store to pinterest
When you connect your e-commerce store to Pinterest via a platform such as Shopify or SquareSpace, all your products will automatically be made visible as Product Pins in the Shop tab. Product Pins uploaded in this way can be distributed organically, but they cannot be promoted as paid Shopping ads.
upload your product catalog
Alternatively, you can upload your products in a scaled way via a Product Catalog data source file. Product data is uploaded in a specific format that enables you to filter your products into Product Groups. Up to 8 Product Groups can be featured on the Shop tab. Product Pins created using Catalogs can be promoted as Shopping ads. This type of data upload gives you much more control over the way your products are displayed in the Shop tab.
Uploading all or part of your product catalog to Pinterest gives you more control over the display of your products in the Shop tab. Rather than showing all products mixed up on the page in no particular order, it's possible to feature up to 8 product groups. In the example above for Habitat UK, product groups could be created for armchairs, tables, floor lamps or even special offers.
The product catalog creation and upload can be a little tricky if you're unfamiliar with processing data feeds. A data source file in a specific format needs to be created and made available at a server location that Pinterest can access. If your e-commerce store is on Shopify connecting your catalog to Pinterest is a piece of cake via the Shopify/Pinterest channel.
4. Be ready for people who shop with their camera
Shoppers on Pinterest do not only search with keywords. Pinterest's mobile app also enables people to search with their camera. To increase your chances of having your product show up for searches with Lens (Pinterest's camera search functionality), test if your own images generate relevant search results.
Pinterest Lens Test
Take a picture of a product you offer and check what kind of pin image designs appear in the search results. If your product shots are plain product shots without a background and the types of images that Pinterest pulls up for your type of product are mainly lifestyle pictures, then you may want try out lifestyle images for your product too. Also check the titles and descriptions to get inspiration for your own pins.
You can also do these searches with images from your camera roll. Give it a try!
5. Optimize your product shots for Visual Search
Ever noticed that little magnifying glass icon in the bottom right corner of a pin? If you click on it, it will let you hone in on the pin and shows you other similar items. Pinterest "reads" images and matches it to other similar ones. Wouldn't it be great if Pinterest pulled up one of your products right in front of a Pinner with purchase intent!
If you want your products to show up on visual search, do some research on the type of shots that the algorithm pulls up for your product type. What happens when you click on the magnifying glass for one of your own Pinterest images? Does it pull up other similar items or does it pull up something completely unrelated? In that case, you may want to consider adapting your product shots, by cropping them differently or creating some new ones.
6. Show off your products in a carousel pin
A carousel pin is a pin that consists of multiple images. Carousels enable you to showcase different features of a product, show off multiple products at once, or tell a story. You can swipe through each of these images and each of the images can be linked to a different URL.
How to Create a Carousel Pin
- Create a new pin in the usual way
- Upload the pin image. After the image has been uploaded, an option to create a carousel will appear below the image.
- You can now add up to 5 images
- If you want the images to be re-directed to different URLs, remove the check mark and add the relevant URL to each image.
7. Let them try on your product. Virtually!
Try On was first rolled out for lipstick in January 2020. This cool AR (augmented reality) feature lets you try on different shades of lipstick. It's powered by using the Pinterest camera in the search bar. At the time of writing this article, it's not yet available worldwide. More product categories to "try on", such as glasses are planned.
If you would like to try it out for your business, you need a Pinterest business account and your Product Catalog uploaded in the Shop tab (see section on "Shop tab" above). You can send a request to Pinterest for access to the Try on feature here.
Pinterest for e-Commerce - Need some help setting up shop on Pinterest?
Whether you're looking to turn your Shopify product catalog into shoppable product pins on Pinterest or need help running paid ad campaigns, we can help. We work with online retailers and brands in a wide range of industries. Many of our clients sell via Shopify, but we help e-commerce retailers with shops on other platforms too. Click to learn more about our services.
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Grow Your E-Commerce Sales with Pinterest
Mary Lumley - Conversion Focused Pinterest Marketing
Pinterest for e-Commerce: 7 Tips to Increase Your Product Sales