4 Ways Retailers Can Use Pinterest to Boost Sales

The social network that is often overlooked by businesses, but has great benefits, is Pinterest. Pinterest is an online pin board social network, allowing users to pin pictures of their awesome products, delicious recipes, upcoming trends, home design inspiration and much more on the site.

It also has the added benefit of being the second highest referring social network, only being beaten by Facebook. An article by Inner Media states that 47% of Pinterest users have bought something as the result of a pin and Pinterest users tend to spend twice as much on orders than shoppers from Facebook and Twitter; an exciting prospect for all retailers.

Although it is big in the US right now it is definitely growing at a substantial rate in the UK. Jumping from a tiny 200,000 in 2011 to just over 2 million in July 2013 and, with the growth not slowing, the number of international users continues to increase. So how can retailers use this ever-growing network?

1. Rich Pins

Rich pins, like rich snippets, offer more information to the user/viewer. This information can include recipe details (allergy information and ingredients), film ratings and article pins (headline, author and a story description). Rich pins are particularly useful for retailers as they allow businesses to add more information about their products to their pins, for example price. It is estimated that pins which include a price attract 36% more likes than those without. Here’s an example of what a Rich Pin looks like with the added cost snippet.

There are several reasons why Rich Pins are a good idea, one benefit is, as already mentioned, they provide more information. The more you give consumers the more likely they are to convert which is another benefit, increased sales. They also automatically update so, if any information such as an ingredient in a recipe is changed, then this will automatically update the pin.


Also, thanks to a brand new feature of Pinterest, when a product of yours on Pinterest decreases in price by 10% or more it will send a price alert email to everyone that has pinned and re-pinned that product, and the best part, these price alerts are free! Getting started with Rich Pins is a fairly easy process and all it involves is prepping your website with Meta tags, testing the Rich Pins and then you have to apply to upload them. Read the full details of how to apply for Rich Pins here.

Pinterest Rich Pins


2. Competitions

Competitions are a great way to attract new followers on any social network and Pinterest is no exception. They usually work in a share to win capacity. A company will upload a graphic with the rules and the prize displayed on it. These rules usually require the participant to complete certain tasks to enter the competition. For example, following the company and sharing the competition picture.

Some companies will require participants to complete some additional tasks, such as pinning a certain amount of pictures of a different theme on a specific board. Here’s an example of a completion pin from Boden. Boden have asked people to:

  • Follow them
  • Create a board specifically for the competition
  • Pin at least eight pictures from certain ranges on their website
  • Pin floral images alongside this
  • Send them a link to the specific board in their comment section under the original competition post.

Sounds like an arduous process, yet, 541 people have entered. This is a great way to increase traffic to the website. In the Boden example, entries are required to pin products from the website, meaning that all those 541 people had to visit the website. When they do this they are also putting your product and brand in front of their followers on Pinterest too, thus increasing your exposure. An all round winner.

3. Pinterest SEO 

It is important that if you are investing time into your Pinterest business account that people can actually find it. This is where a little Pinterest search engine optimisation (SEO) comes in handy. Don’t let the acronym scare you, it’s not as hard as you think. The first step is to make sure your account is a business account; these accounts were rolled out in November 2014 and offer pretty much the same features as a normal account, the difference being that Pinterest for Business allows companies to view their Pinterest analytics. 

This shows high impressions, high re-pins and high clicks, helping you see what works and doesn’t work when it comes to pinning and, as a result, helps you to get the most out of the network. Then you need to make sure that you have allowed search engines to show your page in search results. There is an option in settings, called ‘Search Privacy’, used to hide profiles from search engines, there is no point optimising to appear in Google if you have requested that your profile be hidden. Make sure your settings indicate ‘no’.

Next, you will need to make sure that your business name is easy to find. If you happen to be called something like “Supercalifragalisticexbiallydocious clothing” then you may want to consider shortening it. The optimal username length is between 3-15 characters but make sure it is still recognisable as your brand. Make sure you verify your website: verified accounts are more trustworthy and when it comes to brand on social media, trust is imperative. Also, link back to your website in your pin descriptions. Links in descriptions will allow people to click through to your website increasing traffic which will hopefully convert into sales.

Keywords, keywords, keywords. Use keywords in your ‘About’ section. You only have 200 characters to play with so make sure you use this space to its full potential. Make it clear, natural-sounding and include a few of your main keywords. This also applies to the name of your boards, be inventive but make sure the titles work for your brand and what you are trying to optimise for.

When considering the description of your pins, bear in mind that this will help the audience you want to attract find your pins through their online search getting your products discovered. Lastly, use hashtags, these are tags which are used to categorise Pins and make your Pins a lot more searchable within the network. Don’t overuse them though, three is recommended.  

4. Promoted pins

Pinterest launched its promoted pins service in December, 2014. This, like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn ads, allows businesses to target messages to users. This is still in its infancy at the moment, only being available to US companies for the time being, however, with Pinterest being one of the highest converting social networks and promising one of the highest AOV, (Average Order Value) it will definitely be something worth considering when it is rolled out internationally.

Pinterest has promised that these ads will be tasteful and transparent as to not take away from the creative, clean feel of the network. Also, word on the street is that Pinterest will be rolling out a buy button in the near future as part of Pinterest’s e-commerce strategy. There is an exciting future ahead with Pinterest for retailers and ecommerce stores alike if they grasp the opportunity.

If you would like to invest more in your store’s social media promotion, and you need additional finance to grow, talk to us about a business cash advance.


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