Pinterest was one of the big success stories last year. Just when nobody thought another social media site could take the online world by storm, the photo-sharing, “virtual scrap board” managed to do just that. Online sites quickly realized that it was sending even more referral traffic than Twitter, and that it was bringing a new look to the web itself. In fact, Pinterest currently drives more online sales than Facebook.
So what can today’s eCommerce sites do to learn from and take advantage of Pinterest in the year ahead?
Look Like Pinterest
Apart from using Pinterest as a channel for referrals and customer retention, eCommerce sites can learn a lot from its user interface and design. What social media has managed to do is give users the ability to browse the web, not just search it. Pinterest transformed that browsing experience into a visual experience that many site owners are starting to recognize as a road forward.
Few things are more shareable than photos and images, unless of course we are talking about videos. As we all know, shareability is the key to success in social media. Pinterest’s grid design has taken the web by storm, making it simple to browse through photos and navigate through them naturally. Such designs are also incredibly friendly to the growing tablet and smartphone market.
Pinterest’s “infinite scrolling” capability also keeps users engaged, never getting that feeling that they have reached the end of the page and should move on to something else.
David Galbraith, an entrepreneur who started Wists, which was a precursor to Pinterest, recently told Gigaom that the “UI universe has boiled down to grids and feeds and slideshows, as far as I can see.” These interfaces are intuitive to humans, visually appealing, and perfect for the “touch and slide” future of interfaces.
Hire a Professional Photographer
It should go without saying that you should get a “pin it” button up on your site so that visitors can easily share images and photos, but you want those photos to be beautiful if they’re going to get shared on Pinterest, Tumblr, Facebook, and the web at large.
It’s customary practice on eCommerce sites to post a manufacturer supplied photo or otherwise basic image of a product on the product page. In the years going forward, this is going to change. You want that photo to be the main selling point of the product. It should take up a lot of space on the page, and it should be more than easy on the eyes.
Try to work with “artsy” photographers who can make any product look amazing and unique. Use photos to tell a story, not just to show visitors what the product looks like. This means it comes down to more than just color, contrast, and angle. Truly shareable photos are clever and dazzling.
Cash In On Keywords
Pinterest is a very popular site, but it’s certainly not as saturated as the Google search results. While it’s true that most people prefer to browse Pinterest than to search it (that is it’s appeal, after all), every site has its trendsetters who want to discover something that hasn’t already been repinned thousands of times, and search is where they do it.
With every image you post, you should include a helpful description that people will enjoy reading. Try to mention a keyword that reveals few results in Pinterest but is likely to be searched for often. This can help get you the exposure necessary to get repinned and in front of more people.
Similarly, you can also take advantage of Pinterest’s popularity to get your Pinterest page into Google. Mention your pinboard during your online promotions and it is more likely to show up in Google’s search results.
Give Consumers Projects
Michaels, the arts and crafts store, has done a great job of making the most of Pinterest. Take a look through their pins and you will see that most of the images aren’t of products. Instead, they are of projects. Visitors who click through to visit Michael’s will be taken to instructions to put together the project. A creative image with a story behind it, especially one that visitors can replicate, has a way of spreading through the network like wildfire.
Focus on projects, how-tos, recipes, and activities that can be represented with beautiful, eye-catching images. Anything that gets a user interested enough to start a project of their own is likely to be remembered. Such projects don’t always have to involve your own projects, or at least not exclusively your own products. If you get them involved, they will remember you, and that’s the important thing when it comes to longevity.
Use a Price Banner
You might think getting your price listed on an image would make it appear more commercial and cause people to pay less attention, but it turns out the opposite is true. According to Shopify, a pin with a price banner gets 36 percent more “likes” than a pin without one.
Getting a price banner on your image is also incredibly easy through Pinterest’s interface. All you need to do is include the price in your description with a dollar sign, and the banner will automatically be added to the corner of your image.
Doing this will also automatically add your picture to the “gifts” section and list it under the appropriate price section.
Of course, there is the potential to overdo this. Don’t post a price banner on every pin, just product pins. If you stick to this and there seems to be an excess of price banners on your pin board, it’s because you’re posting too many product pictures and not enough creative projects that will help you build a reputation.
As a photo-sharing platform, Pinterest is much more commerce-friendly than the majority of social networks. Provided that photos of your projects are interesting to look at, you can get away with posting them much more frequently than on other networks. By making all of your product images interesting, you can draw traffic.
That said, you still need to add value to the community with projects and activities that will keep users engaged. Pinterest is not itself an eCommerce site.
We can also take lessons from Pinterest’s design and social format to encourage engagement on our own eCommerce sites.
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