Learn how to sell on Pinterest and take advantage of the platform’s full potential. Pinterest is more than a visual search engine: it’s also a shopping destination.
Some might dismiss Pinterest as a place for outfit ideas and motivational memes, but the platform is becoming a powerful online shopping tool. We’ve already established that Pinterest is great for advertising, but it also works very well with direct sales conversions.
As a place that encourages endless scrolling, the power of Pinterest is limitless. If you take the platform seriously and put some love into your business page, you can start to sell on Pinterest easily.
How to sell on Pinterest? 7 steps
As we’ve already established, there are many different ways to sell on Pinterest as a retailer.
Whether you’re using it to send out #inspo vibes and build awareness, or to make sales on the platform, you need to have a solid strategy.
Here’s a complete, step-by-step guide on how to sell on Pinterest.
1 Finding the right niche
This is a key part of any brand’s philosophy, but it’s especially important on Pinterest. Before setting up store, consider your target audience and your content strategy. After all, this app is all about curation, so it’s critical to make sure you’re starting from the right place.
Spend some time on Pinterest to learn about the different communities and where your brand might fit in, whether it’s among cottagecore fashion lovers or mid-century modern housewares junkies.
2 Create a business account
To do business from your Pinterest account, you have to make sure you have a business account. It’s a no-brainer, right? Well, a business account is different from a personal account in many ways: it gives you access to features like analytics, ads, and a great toolbox for businesses.
There are two main ways to get a business account. You can convert your personal profile to a business account by following the instructions here, or you can register a new business account from scratch.
3 Consolidate your brand
Before we get to the fun stuff, it’s important to make sure your Pinterest profile is aligned with your brand as a whole. That means taking the time and care to make sure everything is in order, from your username and profile picture to your bio and contact information. Pinterest users who come across your brand on the platform should be able to easily identify it if they’ve seen it before.
As mentioned above, you can also sign up for the Verified Merchant Program, which is free and will add a blue checkmark (not unlike the Twitter and Instagram verification checkmark) to your page. This will make your brand look more credible on the platform.
4 Define your aesthetics
Although it is truly a unique social network, at its core, Pinterest is a visual search engine. This means, of course, that you need to consider SEO-friendly titles for your posts, but more importantly, you need to create a strong visual identity.
In Hootsuite’s Social Trends 2022 report, we looked at how Structube created a series of visually stunning, 1950s-style ads to promote their furniture. On Pinterest, these photos were tagged by room – a smart marketing move, considering that’s exactly how Pinners shop for home decor products. The result was a two-fold return on their advertising investment.
5 Create a catalog
Before you start pinning, there is one more crucial step in setting up your Pinterest store: creating a catalog. This process requires a spreadsheet with some key information that is then used to generate Product Pins and create a catalog on Pinterest.
The product spreadsheet has seven requirements: a unique ID, title, description, product URL, image URL, price and availability.
You also have to host your data somewhere. To send it to Pinterest, you have to provide a link to your CSV that is always available to them. It can be hosted on an FTP/SFTP server or an HTTP/HTTPS download link, but it cannot be password protected. Once you send this link to Pinterest, your products will be available as Product Pins.
Pinterest updates its data feed once every 24 hours, so you should be able to add products to the spreadsheet and have them automatically appear in your Pinterest store without much work.
The company also says it can process up to 20 million products per account, so unless you’re running the biggest store ever to exist on Earth, you should be able to create a full product list.
6 Use Rich Pins
A product spreadsheet is a fantastic way to keep your Pinterest up to date, but there’s another way to access many special features of the app. If you’ve claimed your website as mentioned in step 3, there are many more features at your fingertips.
For example, you can generate Rich Pins, which use your site’s metadata to create standalone pins ready to be discovered in search.
To get Rich Pins, you’ll need to request them. Pinterest will then analyze your site’s metadata to make sure they sync correctly. Find out more about the types of Rich Pins and the setup process here.
Once approved, Rich Pins will be available every time you tap Create a new pin.
7 Make a marketing strategy
You know your brand and you know exactly what you want to do with it. Now it’s time to take your marketing know-how to the Pinterest boards. (Here’s a detailed guide to marketing on Pinterest).
Has a celebrity been photographed wearing your clothes? Or has an influencer used one of your home decor products in their photos? Get a tag and pin your products. Plus, you can get a lot of mileage out of tagging your items in Shop the Look posts.
Pinterest also reports that brands that tag details like free shipping or product ratings double the number of purchases, so it doesn’t hurt to add those integral details to your feed.
As cliché as it sounds, the most important technique is to have fun. You want to be a brand with a Pinterest account, not a brand that bombards the site with products. Make sure you pin relevant and engaging non-product content as often as you post products. This way, you’ll be able to interact with the community organically and drive sales at the same time.
Why sell products and services on Pinterest?
Pinterest is much more than just a fun way to kill an afternoon on your tablet with a glass of wine. Launched in 2010, the platform has become very popular in recent years, and its developers have risen to the occasion by adding more and more features for brands, without detracting from the user experience.
The truth is that to sell on Pinterest is the ideal option for brands big and small, and its sales potential should not be underestimated. Here are some of the reasons why:
Buying is easy
Pinterest is a perfect hybrid between social media and window shopping. Whether it’s casual scrolling or actively planning a major purchase, an estimated 47% of users view Pinterest as a platform to buy products. Considering the number of people using the service, that’s a considerable number of potential buyers.
It is autonomous
Unlike other social media platforms, to sell on Pinterest allows you to make sales directly on the platform: you don’t have to send potential customers anywhere else. Pinterest’s shopping features allow you to create a unique and seamless shopping experience that will minimize the risk of customers abandoning before checking out.
Note that checkout on the platform is currently only available to iOS and Android users based in the United States. Brands in other countries can create Pinterest storefronts and direct users to their e-commerce stores to checkout.
It is avant-garde
The renewed interest in Pinterest means more people are using the app than ever before, and the company is continually rising to the occasion by rolling out new features.
In 2022 alone, Pinterest launched the Try On for Home Decor feature, which allows Pinners to try out items for the home using augmented reality (AR). With this feature, you can see how a piece of furniture would look in your space:
Characteristics of shopping on Pinterest
Pinterest has been shopping friendly for many years. In 2013, they introduced Rich Pins, which pulled data from brands’ websites to their Pinterest content. In 2015, they added “buyable pins,” which were renamed Product Pins in 2018.
Still, the app went further for brands during the COVID-19 shutdown. In 2020, they launched the Shop tab, which made it even easier for users to shop while searching in the app or browsing a board and therefore much better to sell on Pinterest for businesses.
Currently there are 5 ways Pinterest users can shop on the app:
- Shop from boards: When a Pinterest user visits a home decor or fashion board, the Shop tab will display products from the pins they have saved. If those exact products are not available, products inspired by the Pins will be displayed.
- Shop from Pins: While browsing regular Pins on Pinterest, users can tap on buy similar to see related products for both looks and rooms.
- Shop from Search: The shopping tab is now easily available from search results, so whether Pinterest users search for “summer outfits,” “apartment ideas” or “home office,” you can easily tap the tab and receive shopping options.
- Shop from style guides – Pinterest makes its own style guides for popular home decorating terms like “living room ideas,” “mid-century,” “contemporary” and others. The goal is to help Pinners find products even if they don’t know exactly what they’re looking for.
- Shop from brand pages: Stores that sign up for Pinterest’s Verified Merchant Program can have a shopping tab on their profile (as in the example below), which means Pinners are just one tap away from shopping.