Pinterest For Social Commerce: What It Is, How It Works and What’s Next

Social commerce is growing, fast. It is estimated that the global social commerce market will drive over 600 billion in sales by 2027. Social commerce is the process of using social networks to complete an online purchase. From product search to order checkouts, everything happens on a social media platform seamlessly.

Of all the social commerce platforms, Pinterest is at the best position to capitalize on this trend. 478 million people use Pinterest every month to find ideas and inspire their next purchase. The platform emphasizes appealing visuals, which make shopping ads less disruptive and annoying compared to other social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter. Let’s take a deeper look into why Pinterest should be the next marketing channel for online businesses to drive sales.

Pinterest statistics

Source: Statista

I. Why Should You Sell On Pinterest? 

Pinterest first launched in 2010, serving as a place for women to browse and pin the latest fashion style and home decor ideas. While women still make up the majority of Pinterest’s global audience at 80%, male and Gen Z pinners are up 40% year over year. The platform is undoubtedly striking an impressive user growth aiming at higher sales and user engagements. Here are 3 reasons why you should sell on Pinterest.

01. Get in front of more potential customers

Larger brand exposure is always good. Pinterest is the second largest source of social media traffic to Shopify stores, one of the largest eCommerce platforms in the world. With over 250 million active monthly users on Pinterest, retailers can easily reach more customers. Another advantage is the platform’s unique user base, Pinterest has successfully differentiated itself from other already-saturated marketplaces like Facebook and Instagram. Many businesses are now using Pinterest as their niche marketing channel to run more targeted campaigns and increase conversions. For example, Bloomingdale uses beauty-related boards to speak with their female shoppers while creating other men’s style boards for male shoppers.

Pinterest is a platform for every brand. 97% of queries searched on Pinterest are unbranded. In other words, Pinners use this platform to discover new products and purchase ideas. Small and independent brands may have better chances at growing potential buyers.

02. Simplify the shopping experience Convert customers where they are

The pinning platform perfectly streamlined every stage of the customer journey. When a shopper is looking for a pair of jeans, they can carry out product searches on Pinterest based on colors, styles, or lengths. When they find what they like, they can either pin the product to a board or directly head to the store’s shopping site and make a purchase. 93% of users use Pinterest to plan their purchases. This makes pinning and browsing more influential during the awareness and consideration stage. The pinning feature allows customers to quickly review and compare the products before making a final decision. This helps brands shorten the customer journey and create better customer experiences.

03. Gather useful customer data for a personalized experience

Pinterest Business offers comprehensive data analysis to help sellers optimize their content performance and understand audience behavior. Store owners can analyze shoppers’ purchase journeys and compare various attributes to find areas for improvement. With all the gathered customer data, sellers are able to provide more personalized product recommendations based on their customers’ previous purchases or saved pins. Sellers can also use Pinterest ads to fine-tune their marketing spend for organic and paid activities.

II. How Social Commerce Work on Pinterest

User intent is what sets Pinterest apart from other social media platforms. People use this Pinterest to look for new brands or product ideas. Unlike Facebook for Instagram, social interaction is not their primary purpose. That’s why Pinterest focuses on offering users a less interruptive buying process with the following benefits:

  • Shoppers aren’t disturbed by displayed ads. Instead, they can really focus on finding the products they need. Almost 50% of Pinterest users consider shopping their top priority. Thanks to this visual inspiration platform, relevant and creatively designed ads may actually help brands increase sales in the long term.
  • A shopper’s journey is perfectly connected from their first pin to their final checkout. Pinterest Buyable Pins is a blue price tag that appears on the product, letting customers know they can purchase it directly through the platform without leaving the app. This further increases a brand’s online conversation rate.
  • Pinterest offers brands to get creative with their content. Advertisers can use innovative ways to display their content or services without such limitations. Brands can create customized content based on different targeted audiences to push shoppers further down the conversion funnel.

III. Best Practices of Pinterest Social Commerce 

Compelling visuals can significantly impact your Pinterest page performance. The platform offers three different content pins for content creation: standard pins, video pins, and idea pins. Make sure your product pins abide with the requested specs and optimization ideas. You should use vertical images and include your logo in a Standard Pin. For a Video Pin, the golden rule is to create with the right length and a strong cover image. Don’t forget to optimize your pin copy for SEO purposes as well.

Now let’s take a look at some of the successful brands on Pinterest.

01. KarmaPlace


KarmaPlace is one of the apparel brands that sells fashionable Kurtis, sarees, and lehengas that use size charts to serve women of all body types. Based on their target audiences, they’ve organized their Saved Pins by product category so both new and returned users can easily browse all the designed apparel in their interested category. They’ve even created separate boards for children and adults for a better shopping experience.

You’ll notice a blue check next to the Page name, indicating that KarmaPlace is a verified Pinterest merchant. This is one way to earn customer trust and brand loyalty. The brand has even made it easier for customers to contact them by including a contact button on the page. There’s also a “Tried” section that shows customers’ reviews and photos after trying on the product.

02. Olivia Von Halle

Shoppers can get the strong feel of a high-end luxurious vibe when visiting Olivia von Halle’s Pinterest page. All the product pins are neatly organized according to colors. Sellers even add emotional touch into the product descriptions. What’s more brilliant is how the brand communicates with their shoppers by using zoomed in images of delicate prints and embroidery. This serves as a quality assurance for both merchants and customers. Although this store doesn’t have a verified merchant badge from Pinterest, it still gets 1.2 million monthly visits and serves to inspire more users looking for party and after-party dresses.

Pinterest best practice

03. What Waist

What Waist organized their product pins according to functionality and current trends. It is a lifestyle brand that produces athletic gear and equipment to help people of all sizes perform better during workouts. Hence the brand shows both image and video pins of people wearing their product while exercising to create a more approachable brand impression with their users.

Pinterest best practices

04. Patagonia

Patagonia does an amazing job showcasing their apparel pins according to seasonal trends, accessory and activity types. The boards closely resonate with the brand’s outdoorsy vibe through vibrant colors that paint an active and positive impression on visitors. Shoppers can easily click on a specific category and discover their favorite products within a few clicks. The Patagonia page has a red checked mark here, suggesting it’s a verified account and notable brand. This is different from the blue check, which simply refers to a verified merchant.

pinterest best practices

05. The Tie Bar

The Tie Bar designed their boards based on special occasions and current trends. For example, the Pride collection is dedicated to June, The Pride Month. Shoppers that plan to attend activities can search for theme-related products easily. The brand even ran ads advertising ties for wedding and workwear through inspiration boards to reach more Pinners.

Pinterest best practices

IV. How To Use Pinterest To Leverage Social Commerce

Pinterest is a valuable channel for almost any kind of business. Yet, with 250 million Pinners regularly searching for fashion ideas, this makes apparel and accessories brands one of the top categories on Pinterest. Before we dive into tips and best practices, check out this A-Z tutorial on Selling with Pinterst.

Here are a few tips to help you create truly inspirational shopping experiences.

01. Establish groundwork 

Every business can’t succeed without a solid foundation. Follow these four steps to get your shop up and running.

02. Upload & organize your product pins

First, creating browsable product pins for your catalog. Pinterest introduces multi-feed support for catalogs which allows brands to upload their entire products in multiple product feeds using the same Pinterest Business account. Make sure to include different angles when uploading images on Pinterest. Pinterest allows users to take photos or use their own photos to run product searches. Therefore, you can zoom in on delicate prints or fabric to give Pinterest more clues on the product your users are looking for, further slimming down the customer journey.

03. Make your pins buyable

Once you have your product pins ready, you can add a blue “Buy it” button and price on the top to turn them into Buyable Pins. Buyable pins allow shoppers to purchase the product directly on Pinterest without opening a new website. Shoppers can also search a product by its price range without wasting time scrolling through thousands of pins. Buyable Pins are also customized for a better mobile shopping experience. However, this feature is only available for major retail brands like Macy’s and Nordstorm. Another way to access this feature is by hosting your eCommerce stores using Shopify or Demandware.

04. Connect to Shopify

Increase brand discoverability by connecting your Pinterest Business account to your Shopify store. Right now, more than 1.7 million Shopify merchants have the opportunity to bring their products in front of 500 million Pinterest users. Sellers can also run retargeting ad campaigns to re-engage with shoppers who previously visited their Pinterest profile or saved particular product pins. The Pinterest-Shopify channel further underlines the importance of building meaningful audiences for social commerce.

05. Track your performance

The final step is to add the Pinterest Tag to your site. Pinterest tag collects users behavior data and actions they take after seeing your ads. It offers granular insight and helps you measure how effective your ads are according to shoppers’ engagement. Sellers may also utilize this data for site optimization.If you’re connecting Pinterest with Shopify, the tag will be automatically set up in your Pinterst profile.

06. Grow brand loyalty

Pinners are more open to new brands. Sellers should constantly work on establishing trust and loyalty with their users using Pinterest’s Verified Merchant Program.
The verified merchant program (VMP) helps add credentials to sellers and build user liability. Here are some of the top benefits to enjoy:

  • Receive a blue checkmark on your seller profile to let shoppers know you’ve been vetted. This helps instill more confidence in your store’s new visitors.
  • Display a Shop tab on your profile to streamline the user’s shopping journey and make product discovery easier than before.
  • Show prices and stock information directly on your product pins to improve online conversions
  • Get comprehensive customer data via Pinterest Tag and optimize for sales
  • Increase product exposure and grow new visitors with related pins
  • Utilize the multi-feed catalog uploads feature. Spend more time on improving user engagement.

07. Sell more with Pinterest Ads

Retailers should not miss the opportunity to advertise on Pinterest. According to eMarketer 47% of U.S social media users visit Pinterest to shop for products. The percentage is even higher than Facebook and Instagram combined! Compared to other social media ads, Pinterest ads actually drive 3x the conversion and twice the positive incremental ROAS. Sellers can use Promoted Pins and targeted campaigns to reach more in-market shoppers. Here’s what you need to know about advertising on Pinterest.

08. Create Promoted pins & targeted campaigns

Promoted Pins are similar to the organic pins merchants created for their shop. The only difference is sellers pay an amount of money so more people will see this product pin in a given time period. Promoted Pins help business owners grow brand awareness, promote products, and drive traffic back to the official website. This is different from Buyable Pins which allow customers to complete a purchase without leaving Pinterest.
Ad campaigns may vary based on your business goals. Sellers should run engagement campaigns to interact with shoppers at their consideration stage. For sales-oriented goals, merchants can fixate on ready-to-buy shoppers and bring them back to the official website to complete an order. Research shows that weekly Pinners are 1.25x more likely to purchase multiple items. Therefore, you can also re-engage with shoppers using Promoted Pins based on their browsing or cart history.

09. Utilize Mobile ad tools & automatic bidding

mCommerce is changing the way people shop. The share of mCommerce is expected to rise to 72.9% by 2021. So Pinterest introduced Mobile Ad Tools that offers businesses the ability to create and manage their Pinterest ads from a mobile device effortlessly.
Companies can raise brand awareness and reach new customers in a more cost-effective way using automatic bidding. When you turn on this feature, Pinterest will dynamically adjust your bids to maximize the number of conversions within your desired budget. Sellers simply need to use their mobile phones to set up the daily budget for the campaign, fill out billing information and then publish the ad. Pinterest will take it from there.
Business owners can even monitor ad metrics anytime from their mobile phones. Sellers can make quick modifications based on ad spend, and clicks so every penny is spent consciously. Other features like multi-user access, campaign duplication and reporting are all available within the Mobile ad tools.

Pinterest Ads Example – IKEA USA:

Pinterest example

IKEA USA Page saw exciting results after running Pinterest Ads targeted at college students. Before investing in advertising, the profile already has a staggering global presence within topics like decor’, and room decorating. Since 50% of millennials use Pinterest to get ideas, IKEA USA decided to narrow their audience to college students looking for dorm furniture and use Pinterest Promoted Pins to give the campaign a boost.

IKEA USA created product pins related to dorm room furnishing and small space decor ideas. Then use keywords like ‘dorm ideas’ and ‘dorm room organization’ to push more traffic through their website. By the end of the campaign, IKEA’s Pinterest Ads had a 72% increase in CTR and 37% decrease in CPC. The Swedish furniture brand successfully increased their sales by mixing and matching organic and paid traffic using Pinterest.

It’s certain that Pinterest for social commerce seems very promising. Currently, there are more than a million business partners on the platform and provides over 10 million buyable products. The demographic of Pinners is also expanding with 75% of new users coming outside of the US. As active mobile shoppers rapidly transform the traditional brick-and-mortar shopping experience, Pinterest continues recreating in-store shopping experience for companies to reach different targeted audiences whatever their business size.

Author bio:

This chapter was written by Haoyi Fan. Haoyi is an SEO and content marketer at Kiwi Sizing. Kiwi Sizing is Shopify’s most popular sizing solution that improves your customers’ shopping experience with customizable sizing chart, fit recommender, and more.