Practical Ecommerce

10 Ways to Use Pinterest for your Ecommerce Business

Social networking sites have become more visual. This is especially the case with Pinterest.

The site, which consists of images and videos arranged in a bulletin board style layout, has become one of the largest social networks.

Unlike Facebook and Twitter, which rely on content from a network of friends and followers, Pinterest focuses on the “interest graph” and is made up of people who gather around topics of interest rather than relationships.

Pinterest also offers more marketing potential than other social networks. Pinterest drives more traffic to websites than Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and YouTube, according to some reports. One in five Pinterest users purchase an item they have seen on the site — an average of about $80 per purchase — twice that of Facebook buyers.

With that in mind, here are 10 ways ecommerce businesses can use Pinterest more effectively.

1. Set Up a Business Account

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Merchants should set up a Pinterest business account.

Merchants should set up a Pinterest business account.

Businesses that wish to join Pinterest should set up a business account.

Creating an account involves two steps:

  • Complete a form that asks for information about your business, and agree to Pinterest’s terms of service.
  • Verify your website to show Pinterest users that you are a trustworthy source. Verified accounts help more potential customers find you.

Companies that started using Pinterest prior to the launch of business accounts can convert by completing a form.

2. Use an Eye-catching Profile Image

Pick a profile image such as a logo that helps people easily recognize your business. Profile images should be scaled to 160×165 pixels. Include a short description to introduce your company’s interests to Pinterest users.

3. Create and Organize Boards

Create a variety of boards that show off your brand’s personality and taste, and add enough pins to make each board feel substantial. Pinterest suggests that, prior to starting to pin, you consider what users care about and tailor your strategy to address them. People can choose which boards they want to follow, so not every board has to appeal to everyone.

More board tips:

  • Clearly name each board, but be creative. Limit names to 20 characters or less;
  • Add a description to inspire people to follow your boards and help you appear in searches;
  • Choose a compelling cover pin for each board that gives people a sense for the content contained there.

4. Use High Quality Images

Pinterest users want to be inspired, which is something low quality images won’t likely do. Images that are at least 600 pixels wide look best and only images that are at least 100×200 or 200×100 are pinnable.

5. Show What Inspires You

Instead of merely showcasing your products, Pinterest recommends that you show what inspires them by creating boards for the ideas, places, people, and moods behind your brand.

“The very best boards are inspiring, with beautiful images that draw people in,” states Pinterest.

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Fashion retailer Madewell creates pinboards that inspire through the use of color.

Fashion retailer Madewell creates pinboards that inspire through the use of color.

6. Add a “Pin it” Button or Widget to Product Pages

Adding a Pin it button or widget to product pages on your website provides an easy way for people to share your content on their boards.

Follow these steps to create a button or widget.

  • Go to the Widget Builder page. Five types of buttons or widgets are available: Pin it buttons, Follow buttons, Pin Widgets, Profile Widgets, and Board Widgets.

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Pinterest offers buttons and widgets for use on ecommerce websites.

Pinterest offers buttons and widgets for use on ecommerce websites.

  • Click on the option you wish to embed. Depending on the one chosen, you may be required to include additional information such as the URL where the button or widget will appear and an image to associate with it.
  • Click “Build It!” to create the widget code.
  • Copy the HTML and JavaScript code to include on your website.

7. Embed Pinterest Boards on your Website

One of the options listed above — Board Widget — enables users to embed entire pin boards on their website.

For example, furniture and home decor retailer West Elm shares its most popular pins on its website.

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West Elm shares its most popular pins on its website.

West Elm shares its most popular pins on its website.

8. Include Product Pins

Pinterest recently created a new type of product-related pin called “Rich Pins” that includes details like pricing, availability, and where to buy.

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Product pins include real-time pricing and availability.

Product pins include real-time pricing and availability.

According to Pinterest, rich product pins offer several advantages:

  • Get higher click-through rates than regular pins;
  • Make your brand more visible because your logo is on the pin;
  • Product pins are more likely to appear in a category feed, like Men’s Fashion or Gifts;
  • Include automatically updated details, like price changes.

Setting up product pins is not a simple matter, however, and implementing them will likely require the assistance of a developer.

9. Use Pinterest Analytics to Know what Works

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Pinterest Analytics shows popular pins and those that drive traffic.

Pinterest Analytics shows popular pins and those that drive traffic.

Pinterest Analytics shows pins that are most popular with users along with the ones that drive the most traffic to your site. You can also see what boards your content appears on, how the pins are described, and what people pin along with yours — insights that can help you make decisions about merchandising, product development, and your pinning strategy.

10. Share your Pinterest Account with Others

The more people pin your content, the more discoverable it becomes. To encourage more pinning, add Pin it buttons or widgets to your website, and promote pinning on social networks and in email newsletters.

Paul Chaney

Paul Chaney

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  1. Anna C Bennett August 14, 2013 Reply

    Brands need to remember that Pinterest shouldn’t be used as a product catalogue. It shouldn’t be all about you – use the 80/20 rule. 80% of your pins should be images that inspires, educates, inform, and so forth. 20% should be about you.

  2. Patricia Haag August 15, 2013 Reply

    Paul – Thanks for the great info. I just set up a Pinterest business account yesterday, and am wishing I had seen your article first. Social sites need to emphasize character limits and optimal picture sizes right on the sign-up screens to make a smoother process.

  3. Rita Mitchell August 16, 2013 Reply

    Hello, Paul,

    Thanks for your thought-provocative article.

    In our view, Pinterest demands a spirit of whimsy and respect for artful content composition.

    Actually, Pinterest behaves like the social media playground in the schoolyard of media platforms.

    Again, thanks for making us think more expansively about Pinterest.

    Rita Mitchell
    Milton Waldoff
    Waldoff Group

  4. Javier Gibbs August 19, 2013 Reply

    Great information highlighting the business potential Pinterest offers. I agree with Anna C. Bennett on the 80/20 rule, otherwise pinteresters get saturated and lose interest. We’ve found that recipes and “how to’s” with great images work the best for us.

    Thanks for sharing,
    Javier Gibbs

  5. Paul Chaney August 19, 2013 Reply

    I concur that, while Pinterest comes closer to proving the “social commerce” value proposition, merchants should not forget why people visit. The 80/20 rule certainly applies as does the need to inspire and, when appropriate, include a bit of whimsy.

    Good thoughts all. I appreciate your comments.

  6. Trixie Bradley August 20, 2013 Reply

    Great article – and always useful to get a better insight into different and new ‘social media’ tools.
    I certainly agree with Anna – Pinterest is not your product catalogue, it is an opportunity to show what you are about, and ‘things’ you genuinely like. It is easy to think that Pinterest is for larger companies, but a smaller business like ours, it really shows our clients what we like to look at, buy, sell and where our imagination flows…
    80/20 rule works for me!

  7. August 30, 2013 Reply

    Regarding suggestion #10, is there a way to include the PinIt widget with a photo that I post on Facebook? Or can I include a link to my Pinterest account on my Facebook business page?

  8. Jasper October 20, 2013 Reply

    Thanks for sharing.

    I think path analysis can also be important.
    E.g. I may want to know:

    1. User A see pin #1 for 1 minute
    2. A see the comment about pin #1 for 2 minutes
    3. A sees pin#2
    4. A sees comments about pin #2 for 1 minute
    5. A clicks pin#2 and clicks the link there to your web site.

    I think if we can see the whole sequence of action (i.e. what pin they have seen and for how long? What comment they see and for how long?), then we can have a much more clear picture on how a particular person may have been affected by the pin he see or the comment about the pin he see through the Buyer Readiness Stages

    Then we can have more clear picture about what a person click and go to our web site as well as why another person do not click and go to our web site, based on what pin and comment he sees

    What do you think?

  9. Praveen October 21, 2013 Reply

    Very informatiove and well researched article. Thanks Paul

  10. Abhay Bajaj March 21, 2014 Reply

    I had heard from a lot of people that Pinterest can boost sales and get further exposure for your brand, but didn’t know how everything actually works.
    This post explains it perfectly. Thanks!

  11. Think IT February 6, 2016 Reply

    Thanks for the post, Paul! I’ve been using Pinterest personally and then switched to business name, and now switched to business account! I’m sure I’ll be editing my boards to better suit my business, and definitely keeping these in mind! I never thought about using Pinterest so thoughtfully for business, but it makes perfect sense and you just gave me a ton of great ideas! Thanks!