If you sell clothing, children’s products, housewares, cooking supplies or just about anything online or off, you’ve probably been using Pinterest as a marketing tool. The visually oriented social media site, where members “Pin” images of things they like and share them with others, has experienced soaring growth in recent years.
Women make up the vast majority of Pinterest users, and for many of them, the site serves as a virtual “wish list” or shopping tool where they save ideas for things they want to buy. Of course, as they’re browsing around the site, chances are they’ll see things other users have pinned and suddenly want those things, too. In other words, Pinterest is pretty much a retailer or e-tailer’s dream site, full of eager shoppers with just one problem—they can’t buy right off Pinterest.
Until now, that is. At the end of July, Pinterest rolled out “Buyable Pins” which allow users to buy products directly from their iPhone or iPad (the feature isn’t yet available on Android devices or on desktops). Products that can be purchased via the Pinterest mobile app will feature a “Buy It” button and list the product price. Pinterest users can sort and filter pins to see only Buyable Pins.
Pinterest does not charge businesses for Buyable Pins or even take a percentage of the profits. In the future, the site will most likely profit from companies advertising to promote their Buyable Pins. Retailers handle all of their own customer service and fulfillment, just as they would with any online sale, which is good news if you’re uncomfortable letting someone else get involved in your user experience.
So how can you add Buyable Pins? Right now, the tool is being rolled out slowly, primarily to big stores like Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus. However, some small businesses can start using Buyable Pins right away (find out more here) while others can get on the waitlist for Buyable Pins in the future.
One reason Pinterest is launching Buyable Pins gradually is that they want to provide a stellar customer experience for those who purchase products with the tool. Before you consider using Buyable Pins, make sure that you have all your customer service ducks in a row. You don’t want to be the one company whose users start complaining and attracting Pinterest’s attention to your inability to fulfill orders.
It also helps to know the platforms your customer base uses most often. For example, if most of your customers go online on their desktops, then Buyable Pins won’t make a difference to them for now. By the same token, if your customers are Android phone or tablet users, they can’t benefit from Buyable Pins yet.
However, you should still keep your eye on the Buyable Pins tool and see how the concept rolls out. Watch how other retail and ecommerce businesses use Buyable Pins, and see what you like (and don’t like) about their approach. Then, when Buyable Pins become relevant for your business, you’ll be well prepared for success.
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Karen Axelton is Chief Content Officer of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her company’s blog at SmallBizDaily.com.