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Buying on Pinterest: Three points to consider

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1st Sep 2015
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In June, Pinterest announced that it would be introducing buyable pins. The site’s move into social ecommerce should come as no surprise. In terms of user experience, Pinterest has been likened to an online catalogue as a source of aspirational product browsing. According to Pinterest’s general manager for monetisation, Tim Kendall, 87% of users have gone onto purchase a product (outside Pinterest) they have seen pinned.

The introduction of buyable pins will give retailers even greater visibility on Pinterest and brands such as Macy’s and Nieman Marcus are already on board. Meanwhile, retailers that host their stores with Shopify can also use ‘buyable pins’ by adding the Pinterest channel to their accounts.

‘Buyable pins’ are expected to streamline the purchasing process and have been designed with mobile in mind. They will be identified with a blue “buy it” button in the top right hand corner of the post, with a price point and options to search for different colours and costs. Users will then be able to click on the button to purchase an item with payments processed via credit card or Apple Pay.

While there is an obvious rationale for buyable pins, this development also brings a key set of challenges. Indeed, with shipping, fulfilment and customer service will be handled by retailers and not Pinterest, and with the new buying channel impacting other parts of the purchasing process, brands need to carefully consider the implications of the Pinterest 'buyable pin'. 

In particular, organisations must ensure that they:

  • Cater to customer preference. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of new buying trends. But – to put it simply – there’s little point in a retailer embracing a whole new selling platform and strategy to make use of the ‘buyable pin’ if their customers don’t use Pinterest. The key here is to understand and cater to your target audience before embracing new selling platforms.  
  • Think about fulfilment and distribution. If there is a high level of customer engagement on Pinterest then it is clear this technology could drive sales. Increased sales mean more deliveries, which can only be supported by strengthening fulfilment and distribution solutions. Our research shows that experiencing delays or delivery problems just twice or more would convince 87% of people to switch to another supplier. Retailers need to be certain that they can keep all of their customers – existing and new - happy. Adopting a continual, pro-active approach to updating and monitoring things like delivery options, delivery times, confirmation emails and the returns process will make sure that companies are ready to embrace developments while maintaining their existing level of service. 
  • Consider engaging a third party expert. When balancing a seamless delivery system with the latest innovations in online selling platforms, there are key factors to consider. The lesson for retailers is to have a good understanding of their audience, and to understand how buyable pins on Pinterest will affect existing processes. Engaging a third-party expert with the necessary knowledge contacts and expertise is a strategy many savvy retailers are using to get ahead of the social ecommerce curve.    

The buyable pin function on Pinterest gives online retailers greater selling flexibility. While this is a welcome development, online retailers should ensure the correct back-office processes are in place to support the latest industry innovations. Third party specialists are on hand to make these transitions as smooth as possible.

Paul Galpin is managing director at P2P Mailing

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