Max Chafkin recently sat down with Ben Silbermann, creator and CEO of Pinterest, one of the most popular and fastest growing social networks in the world, to learn more about the making of Pinterest and the potential monetary value of the company. If you haven’t done so already, I strongly recommend reading Ben Silbermann’s interview and learning more about the background of Pinterest.
Not only is it an extremely interesting story that is relevant for web designers, developers, ecommerce experts, social media strategists, and entrepreneurs alike, it is also a thought-provoking social commentary on the way in which Internet use has grown and developed. Furthermore, Chafkin’s article provides valuable lessons for connecting with modern consumers across social media and a rather compelling argument for why businesses, especially ecommerce sites, should pay attention to the world of Pinterest and the changes “pins” have made to the online shopping experience.
Like most social networking platforms, Pinterest was created with the idea of providing a space for users to share content and connect with other users. However, unlike Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or Facebook, which revolve around the idea that users want to become creators of content (filming a viral video, tweeting clever one-liners, or sharing personal stories and photos), Pinterest developed the idea that users can express themselves by curating photos, videos, and products into a world of “pins” that reflect their personal style or taste. Similar to Tumblr, but with a groundbreaking site design, strong visual elements, and easy connections to original sources, Pinterest became a gathering space for everyone, from designers and artists to moms and bloggers, to share their personal taste.
Polyvore, a fashion-focused site with a similar aesthetic to Pinterest, adheres to the same idea of turning personal taste into a form of self-expression and has used this idea to connect with the ever changing world of ecommerce. Jess Lee, CEO of Polyvore, has said that, “ecommerce 1.0 was driven by digital cameras, electronics, hard goods--things with technical specs that you can plot on a chart. But why does someone pay $25,000 for an Hermes handbag? It’s not rational. It’s based on taste; it’s totally amorphous and not trackable. That’s ecommerce 2.0."
Sites like Pinterest, Polyvore, and Fancy have evolved this idea of ecommerce 2.0 by creating a forum for online users to construct their own ecommerce experience, tailored to fit their personal needs, desires, and taste. Online shopping used to be largely text based; consumers would search for their desired product using various keywords, tailoring their search queries to match the picture they had in their head. Pinterest changed this process by offering the option of a shopping experience that is largely visual. When logging into Pinterest, Silbermann says, “You should feel like you’ve walked into a building full of stuff that only you are interested in. Everything should feel handpicked for you.”
With each pin linking back to its original source, not only can users pin photos of their dream wedding or kitchen, but they can also find the exact kitchen supplies or wedding dress they want quickly and in the same way. Finding inspiration, and then making that vision a reality, is all possible within Pinterest’s never-ending scroll pages, creating a unique and instantaneous ecommerce experience for users.
While many will argue that Pinterest is not an ecommerce site, there is no denying that Pinterest has selling power. I myself see Pinterest as more of a creative forum for artistic expression and the sharing of ideas; however, I can’t deny that my most recent online purchases have all been items I have seen on Pinterest. I’m not alone in my Pinterest-assisted purchases: as shown in the infographic below, 80% of the top Pinterest categories are connected to commerce and the value of a user completing a purchase due to social referral is much higher when being referred from Pinterest as opposed to Facebook or Twitter.
Pinterest might hold the key to ecommerce success, but how can your company harness this power and turn pins into a positive ROI? You already know what ecommerce features your customers will love, but an active Pinterest presence can help cast a wide net, bringing consumers to those features and moving them deeper into the sales funnel and closer to a sales conversion. A professional Pinterest account, as well as specific tracking goals and features to measure referral traffic and social conversions due to Pinterest, can help your company accurately measure the value of a pin and better understand the mind of a modern ecommerce consumer.
At Adpearance, we can help you set up measurement and tracking measures and provide social media strategies to help your brand cultivate a “pinnable” online presence. Like all social media platforms, Pinterest provides your company with the opportunity to expand upon your brand image and connect directly with your target demographic. Take advantage of this developing social networking site and stay on the forefront of ecommerce activity by investing in your company’s social media presence and using Pinterest as an alternative ecommerce experience.