Pinterest Launches Marketplace for Small Businesses Just in Time for the Holidays
To celebrate Small Business Saturday, Pinterest announced the launch of an online marketplace, @PinterestShop, to showcase a selection of products from small-scale merchants that sell products through the app.
As of now the Pinterest Shop features products from 17 businesses that were curated by Pinterest, which chose to use the space to highlight imaginative and well-crafted items that you “won’t find at every other box store on the block.” Each business’s pin board within the shop will feature 20 Product pins that serve as a representation of that merchant’s wares. On the Pinterest Shop, you’ll find unique and imaginative toys from Moon Picnic, hand-made leather goods from Fount, classy and quirky men’s accessories from Art of The Gentleman, and much more.
The Pinterest Shop is a great example of how small and niche businesses can make a big splash on Pinterest, a place where users go to find personalized and unique products that fit into their lifestyle.
Pinterest intends to add more businesses and products to the shop’s lineup in the future.
Social Networks Compete for E-Commerce
This latest step is part of a larger push into e-commerce on Pinterest (and other social networks like Instagram).
Thanks to its format as an online inspiration board paired with advertiser-friendly options, Pinterest is one of the only places on the internet where people actually want to see ads. It’s a place where users go explicitly to be inspired and discover new products. “Shop the Look”, which uses object recognition to show users products related to the image they click on, and Product (shoppable) Pins, which displays product details for the image, create a seamless browsing experience that effortlessly moves users to move from discovery to purchase. With a mixture of Shoppable Pins, Promoted Pins, and Shop the Look functionality, the line between organic content and ads is especially blurry on Pinterest, but its users seem to prefer it that way.
According to the information released by Pinterest in tandem with their @PinterestShop announcement, 48% of people use Pinterest to find and shop for products. (That’s more than three times the 14% who so do on Facebook according to Cowen & Co.!) Plus, among weekly Pinners, 83% have made a purchase based on content they saw on Pinterest.
Pinterest: The Place Where Ads Don’t Feel Like Ads
Pinterest ads—aka “Promoted Pins”—tend to quite effective. Case in point: Participating retail brands saw double the return on ad spend with Pinterest and 1.3 times higher returns than with traditional search, according to the platform’s own statistics.
Pinterest is probably the only social network where you’ll regularly see users actually sharing ads. Saving an image to a board ensures that your followers will also see it and that Pinterest will push that pin to other like-minded Pinners.
On social sites that are geared more toward keeping up with friends and family, ads can feel intrusive. On Pinterest, however, where users are often looking for inspiration to guide their next purchase, people are already in the shopping mindset. It’s the difference between seeing a cool window display while you’re out shopping and having a flyer shoved in your face while you’re just out for a stroll.
That’s not to say that Facebook and Instagram ads can’t be effective. (I’ve gotten stellar results from both.) But, with Pinterest, the intent to buy is already there.
Pinterest has become home to a community of creative, niche merchants that thrive on the platform’s ability to deliver the right content to the right people. It’s a platform that chooses to showcase those artists and give them opportunities to stand out among the big box stores that spend vastly more of their resources on advertising and promotion.
Although the new Pinterest Shop only features 17 merchants at this time, its interest in featuring small businesses means that it’s worth looking into as a part of niche retailers’ overall digital marketing strategies.