about online marketing

Rethinking (or actually thinking!) Pinterest

with 2 comments

Have you heard that expression ‘never judge a book by its cover’? Well, I should have known better. Until last week, I had never really understood the point of Pinterest. I understood why it was so popular, after all, users do pointless things on the web all day – like browsing YouTube videos for hours or looking at Facebook feeds for no particular reason. I used to see Pinterest in the  same way, a time killer.


One of my best friends from high school is getting married in October, and I’ve decided to go to her wedding. Her wedding is in Brazil (and I live in London by the way), so it’s a long trip. As any ordinary girl, right after I bought my tickets the first thing that came to my mind was: ‘What dress am I going to wear? I need to go shopping’.
It was Saturday night. I got home early, at around 10pm. Turned on the computer and started browsing (twitter, Facebook, emails, Linkedin, my blog… I should write a blog post, ah no, too lazy, Facebook, Google reader, blogs……dresses!). As you can see it was the last thing I thought of. I’m not a shop addict, but once I start browsing for clothes I go a long way. It keeps me entertained all night. When I realised I had around 20 tabs open in my browser with all dresses I thought were ok. Since I went to ASOS, HOF, Selfridges, etc. I knew it would take me forever to find the same dresses again, and it was already late. I didn’t want to make any buying decisions at that point, but I still wanted to go back to them easily in the next days. It was when, it came to me…

…I found a reason to create a Pinterest account

And I did! Basically instead of bookmarking all the URLs of the dresses I liked, I pinned all of them. So next time I wouldn’t have to open each URL to see which dress was which, I could just go to the my ‘maxi dresses’ board and look at them side by side. Also, instead of sending each URL to my sister in Brazil of the dresses I liked, I could just send her my board URL. All of this is amazing… but the best part is, it actually clicks through to the product details page! If I decide, I can easily buy the product without having to browse for it again. Once I realised that, I got excited to start searching for other maxi dresses boards within Pinterest. But then I got a bit disappointed… most of the dresses I found were not clicking through an ecommerce website, and if they were, most of them were not in the UK either.

Even though I know many people (maybe most people) don’t use Pinterest for browsing/buying behaviour, I think there’s a big market out there for that. What if Pinterest was like a ‘saved items’ feature of all the products you’ve been browsing online but don’t know when/if you will buy?

Once I created my maxi dresses board and didn’t find any other dresses I liked, I created a shoes and a jewellery board. If you read the background bit you know I have a wedding to go to in October, and of course, I need shoes and jewellery to go with the dress as well! Once I’ve created those, I was browsing online and saw a bag I really liked… and realised I’ve been wanting to buy a bag for a while. So I create a bags board, and started browsing online for bags. It was when I thought of the headphones I wanted to buy, and started a ‘cool stuff’ board since I knew there were some other things I wanted to add to that as well.

I suddenly went from a dress to my friends wedding to a headphone that I had seen at Amazon a while back and was dying to get!

Pinterest encourages buying behaviour, so why not take advantage of that?

There’s a great article about what Pinterest means for ecommerce from bluecorn, they talk about how Pinterest is one of the highest traffic sources for one of their clients and how to optimise that traffic in order to generate more conversions. They don’t mention in the article, but I would love to know if compared to other traffic sources Pinterest has a higher conversion rate. But I bet it does! If users were browsing for that product type, found the product, they’ve seen the image (maybe pinned themselves or repinned from someone else), and finally clicked on it. You would think they would be a lot more prepared than someone clicking on a link from Google where you can’t see the image at all. But then you could also argue it’s not very clear where you will land once you click on an image, Pinterest has a subtle ‘from…’ link at the top right of each image, but most users probably miss that.

Ok so my point is…

I changed my mind. I don’t think Pinterest is pointless, there is actually a lot of point to it. I’ve now finally seen a purpose for using the tool, I dont see it as a time killer. It’s something I can benefit from, an utility. I’m not saying everyone should look at it in the same way, Pinterest is powerful because it suits different purposes. But I do think there’s an open gap in the market for a similar tool that only allows you to ‘pin’ products from ecommerce sites, where even a filter option per country is available so you can choose to only look at products you can purchase… food for thought!


Written by Cristina Dresch

July 5, 2012 at 1:41 AM

Posted in Ecommerce, Pinterest, Social

2 Responses

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  1. Totally agree!
    Plenty of benefits for retailers, Pinterest even automatically show a price tag for a pin that has the price in the description. A way to encourage retailers to list their products.
    Not to mention its SEO value (“do-follow” links in pins descriptions).

    Shopcade I believe is very promising too. It’s sort of the e-commerce version of Pinterest.
    They already have nearly 260 million products, I think it’s a matter of time and people will be flocking there!

    • Thanks for the tips! I had no idea about the price tag on Pinterest. Really useful for retailers, it will be interesting to see which direction it goes. If most of them are using Pinterest for a brand purpose, I doubt they would like to add it to the product. But I wonder if users would actually want to see it there (I know I would).

      And hey, Shopcase! Such a great idea. It almost works like an affiliate scheme, you get money if you or someone else buys a product you recommended. And there are a lot of gamification elements to it as well. Hope it catches up!

      Cristina Dresch

      July 9, 2012 at 1:13 PM

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