Yazmin King, paid social account director at Croud
Pinterest is by its very nature the perfect environment for brands to offer a natural and authentic point of purchase. People go there to curate their dream aesthetic at important and exciting moments in their lives – like when planning their dream wedding, or coming up with ideas for a home nursery. People therefore are usually in the mood to be inspired with purchase intent top of mind.
Yet Pinterest hasn’t traditionally been at the forefront of the social commerce movement, being behind its rivals when it comes to introducing new shopping features. However, recent announcements from the Pinterest Summit shows serious power moves in ecommerce – namely the addition of ‘Your Shop’ and in-app checkouts – show that it is making serious investments in the space.
If Pinterest can build the right strategy, it could quickly become the social media equivalent of a shopping mall; a destination where you go to make your inspired ideas into a reality. So what should Pinterest – and brands interested in selling via it – do to make the most of the growing interest in social commerce?
Cater to the impulsive shopper
Social commerce has experienced huge growth during the pandemic. The number of social commerce shoppers grew by a quarter from 2019 to 2020, and by 2021 the global social commerce market was worth $492 billion. As a result, 49% of brands plan to invest more in social commerce in 2022. And the race is on for social platforms who are competing for the largest piece of the commerce pie, which is set to be worth $1.2 trillion by 2025.
Pinterest users are different to the usual social ‘set’ because they largely go there to discover new things – using it more like a visual search engine than a place to interact with friends. Users are arguably therefore more intent driven on Pinterest, though have until now not had the necessary features at their disposal to make purchases easily.
Shopping is far more impulsive on social media than on any other channel, and therefore any successful ecommerce experience must cater to that mind-set. The key to success, therefore, is creating a frictionless experience that is as convenient and easy as possible, and facilitates a simple purchase at the point of inspiration.
Pinterest’s launch of a personalised shopping feed (Your Feed) and in-app checkout means that Pinners are in a unique space where they can get inspired, browse a curated shop and purchase all without leaving the app. The holy-grail for any ecommerce platform.
If the consumer is faced with any significant hurdles, such as a lag in loading, or friction in the payment process, the likelihood is the consumer will lose interest quickly and continue scrolling through their feed. This is particularly pronounced in the case of social commerce compared to other forms of retail. Offering an enjoyable and simple shopping experience at these moments of interaction will go a long way in enhancing the consumer brand relationship, providing the perfect environment for them to go from inspiration to realisation. From an advertiser’s perspective, these new updates will allow for ads to reflect in real time a brand’s catalogue including stock availability. Through syncing product catalogue with what is being shown on Pinterest.
Privacy and trust
Recent research by Croud asked contributors what would deter them most from being involved in an end-to-end social commerce interaction. The main reason was that people prefer to buy directly from a brand, very closely followed by concerns around privacy and trust. In fact, of UK respondents, nearly a third (32.7%) said they didn’t trust social commerce.
Building trust must therefore be a priority on Pinterest. This can be achieved by creating opportunities for brands to build strong relationships with consumers – through a blend of convenience, authenticity and personalisation. Pinterest is already well on its way to achieve this, with verified ‘blue tick’ merchants and an update on its ‘Idea Pins’ – like Instagram Stories – which enables wider reach of audiences and can support key paid partnerships with key platform creators. This makes it even easier for a fashion brand, for example, to partner with a fashion blogger to expand reach and build an authentic relationship with a new audience. Another example of Pinterest trying to better enable consumer-brand relationships is through its ‘Your Shop’ feature, in collaboration with celebrity stylist Tan France. The personalised concierge service provides a customised shopping page based on a user’s previous preferences and interests.
All these initiatives are helping Pinterest create legitimacy and trust. And it will be interesting to see how Pinterest continues to innovate in the future; will it now go one step further from its ‘catalogues’, and introduce ‘storefronts’ for brands to create their own branded shops – following in the footsteps of the likes of Amazon and Instagram? I’m excited to see the potential.
By adding new commerce features to its platform, Pinterest has already seen a growth and shift in usership since the pandemic – with a growth in male users and a greater spread of age ranges that are browsing pins. So, its strategy of embracing social commerce is clearly working. Overall, a safe, authentic and consistent experience that facilitates discovery – alongside a frictionless purchasing journey – could allow Pinterest to become one of the top destinations for shopping on social media.