‘See Yourself on Pinterest’: Turning consumer ideas into retail profits

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By Published On: September 19, 20220 Comments

Image sharing social platform Pinterest has seen surprising growth in recent years boosted by the COVID-19 pandemic, seeing it reach a global traffic rank of 36 as recently as August according to SimilarWeb insights - even exceeding the ranking of e-commerce giant eBay - but it may well be the platform’s format offering the greatest potential assets for retailers.

“The intent of why people come to Pinterest is one of our biggest differentiators and why the platform is a valuable place for brands and retailers. Pinterest is the only platform where users specifically come to find something to buy or do,” says Carin Lee-Skelton, Sales Manager for Pinterest Australia, “We’re different because we are the bridge that takes people from discovery to action in all the moments and the interests that people plan for in their lives.”

That bridge from idea to sale, Pinterest suggests, looks like as many as 77 percent of weekly Pinterest users reporting having discovered a new brand via Pinterest searches and 64 percent of users (‘Pinners’) viewing Pinterest as their preferred destination for discovering an idea, product or service that they can trust. 

The website’s format also offers opportunities for retailers in allowing customers to not only visualise products but compile active shopping lists featuring the same visualisations of these products, a process arguably made easier on Pinterest than comparable social platforms like Instagram or TikTok. The visual assets housed on the platform also offer outbound links directly to the product’s web address on a retailer’s e-commerce shopfront, providing both ease of access and simplified shopping productivity options to consumers hungry for inspiration.

Perhaps even more uniquely, Pinterest offers opportunities for brands looking to usurp market monopolies held by e-commerce giants, with Pinterest reporting that 97 percent of top searches on its platform are unbranded.

“You could also say that people on Pinterest are super shoppers – they outspend people on peer platforms by 2 times every month. They’re also super gifters with 9 out of 10 people on Pinterest using the platform for gift-giving ideas. And because they’re open to discovering new products and ready to spend, shoppers on Pinterest have 85 percent bigger baskets vs. shoppers on other platforms,” Lee-Skelton tells Power Retail, referencing data compiled by market researcher Dynata as commissioned by Pinterest in 2021.

“On Pinterest we generate demand, we don’t just fulfil demand.”

Yet for as much as generating demand sounds nice on paper, cultivating an environment in which that demand can grow requires the building of equal parts trust and inspiration in an audience. In the case of Pinterest, at least one means of building both is to be found in promoting the value of representation, the release of its inspiration platform ‘See Yourself on Pinterest’ for the month of September being the latest example of Pinterest’s commitments to recognising this value.

Working with Australian beauty retailers and creators for content spanning a range of diverse topics and highlighting beauty brands dedicated to diversity and inclusivity, Pinterest seeks to allow users fitting any number of diverse descriptions to feel not only represented but celebrated on its platform. The new campaign platform seeks to reflect what Pinterest recognises as its core audience and continue to prioritise the building of relationships with that same audience, a novel rarity with respect to social platforms.

“What’s truly unique about Pinterest is the mindset of its audience,” says Lee-Skelton, “People come to Pinterest for the big life moments like getting married, having their first child or renovating a home, the seasonal or cultural moments like getting ready for summer or Christmas, and the everyday moments or interests like what to cook for dinner tonight.”

In a retail climate where merchants looking to succeed are increasingly beginning to recognise the importance of building relationships with consumers, a platform such as Pinterest inarguably provides for unique opportunities to reach an engaged audience prepared to be inspired – and spend as a result. Australia’s retail market in turn, it would seem, have begun to acknowledge the value of such opportunities themselves.

“Over the past year, brands like Nestle, AMEX, Foxtel, Mecca, R.M. Williams, L’Oreal, M.A.C Cosmetics, eBay and Kmart have all leveraged Pinterest across brand campaigns and used our new advertising tools and formats to achieve a strong return on investment,” Lee-Skelton offers, “For example, leading Australian lighting retailer Beacon Lighting recently successfully captivated Pinterest’s home decor audience, using the platform’s shopping tool suite to deliver a 40x return on its ad spend.”

“Beacon Lighting built two Pinterest campaigns to showcase its summer lighting catalogue and highlight its sponsorship of TV show The Block: one focused on building awareness, while the other was optimised for conversions. This approach worked, delivering 10 times return on ad spend for the awareness campaign and 40 times return on ad spend for the conversion campaign. Two in three conversions (66 percent) were from net new customers, demonstrating Pinterest’s ability to deliver for brands.”

The opportunities Pinterest offers to retailers is primarily built around a ‘full-funnel offering’, allowing retailers to implement advertising strategies and even establish a digital shop-front on the platform, providing for an omni-channel opportunity with value for retailers and creators alike that is built around the kinds of visual communications increasingly preferred by ambulant, dynamic consumer audiences.

“Retailers have become increasingly challenged by the need to create campaigns that not only capture attention, but make customers feel,” Lee-Skelton says, “As a platform, we’ve risen to the moment with a range of new ad formats, designed to provide opportunities for brands to meet audiences where they’re shopping.”

Ultimately, if Pinterest maintains pace globally and particularly continues to grow in Australia, the opportunity that it provides for retailers to tap into a dynamic bridging point between ideas and spend could be too difficult to pass up.

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