Like all social platforms, Pinterest is working quickly to build on existing shopping features. Instagram has been rolling out new features for Instagram Shopping over the last few months, while TikTok announced the arrival of shopping links in November.
Pinterest first introduced its shopping capabilities in 2015 with Buyable Pins, allowing users to click-to-purchase products through Pinterest, and in the last year, it has ramped up its rollout of features dedicated to shopping. Part of the company’s desire to focus on shopping ties to its mission to help people discover new things.
According to a recent report from the company, 83% of users have purchased a product after seeing it posted to Pinterest by a brand. Today, the company has over 320 million monthly active users, showing a big opportunity for brands to drive sales. Companies including SkinCeuticals and temporary tattoo brand Inkbox have already seen success advertising on the platform. When Inkbox ramped up spend 1,000% earlier last year, the company saw conversions increase over eight times.
“Pinterest is doing a lot of interesting things around commerce,” said Liz Gottbrecht, vp of marketing at influencer platform Mavrck. “For example, the ways they are leveraging visual recognition technology, and working to merge the digital and in-store physical realities, and making that really seamless. They are doing more to integrate and accelerate a path to purchase.” The company’s Lens tool helps consumers take photos of things they find inspiring in the real world and discover similar things online.
Here are just a few of the features brands should know about before jumping into shopping on Pinterest.
In October 2018, Pinterest rebranded its original shopping feature, Buyable Pins, into Product Pins. A Product Pin, which can be found in a user’s home feed or through search, is connected to a specific product, like a pair of jeans. When clicked, the pin takes users to those jeans on the retailer’s website. On Instagram users are able to buy products from a select number of brands directly in the app, as well as on a brand’s website. Pinterest shoppers are always taken out to the company’s website to complete a purchase.
When clicked on desktop, these pins pull in price as well, in real-time. On mobile, price is displayed on the image. The feature also specifies whether or not the item is in-stock or not.
Any brand or retailer with a business account can sign up for Product Pins. They simply have to upload a product catalog to the platform. The catalog feature launched in March 2019. In the company’s third-quarter earnings report, the company said the number of merchants uploading catalogs increased 75% from the previous quarter. From there, the platform automatically creates pins. Levi’s, Athleta, Thinx, and Rothy’s have used this feature, as have many other brands.
Shop the Look ads
In September came Shop the Look ads for mobile would start rolling out in the coming months. The feature is now available to companies within the U.S., specifically in the fashion and home categories. Shop the Look allows brands to take more editorial photos and make the shoppable. If a brand has a styled image featuring a pair of sneakers, jeans, a top, a jacket, a handbag and earrings, each of those products can be shopped. White dots on the image signify the product is shoppable. Up to 25 products can be tagged in a single ad unit.
Prior to launching a paid version of Shop the Look, there was just an organic version allowing businesses to create and post products on their own pages. The organic version is now open to businesses in the U.K., Brazil, Germany, France and Japan.
In October, Pinterest added a new feature for businesses that theoretically makes it easier for followers to see all of a brand’s inventory in one place, and scroll through it all within the app.
When users visit, say, Rothy’s page directly on web or mobile, they can click on the “Shop” tab. The Shop features all of the brand’s product catalog. There, the user can tap on any item they like and buy it through Rothy’s website. On mobile specifically, products listed under the Shop tab show the current price in the upper left-hand corner of the product image. While the main feed is more about inspiration and discovery, the Shop tab is intended to drive customers to the brand’s website to shop.
Another tool for fashion and home brands is a visual search tool, powered by the Lens camera tool. Launched in 2017, it lets people take photos of things (from shoes to couches) within the app and then tap to see similar products or style inspiration. Within a year of launching the tool, people were doing more than 600 million visual searches a month. Today, the technology can recognize over 2.5 billion objects across home and fashion.
In September, the company rolled out updates to Lens including one that allows users to save photos taken and turn them into Pins that they can save to their own boards. Plus, when users use Lens today, the platform automatically “reads” the photo and identifies the product, or similar products. within the photo and turns the photo into a shoppable image.