Pinterest is a visual social media platform and is particularly helpful for people into arts & crafts who are trying to get noticed. A lot of people praise Pinterest for driving up their sales through the roof and get them traffic. Since it’s free to create a Pinterest account, a lot of people wonder if they can use Pinterest itself to sell on the platform.
Not really, but sort of
Pinterest is a social media platform and as of today, hasn’t provided the option for people to sell directly on their platform. What I mean by directly is that no, you cannot open a store on Pinterest itself and make sales from it. Pinterest is a great way to help redirect people to your actual store, whether on your own website or on a marketplace like Etsy but for the time being at least, doesn’t get involved in transactions, sales and so on. Their entire revenue model is based on ads and with the amount of people on there at the moment (over 200 million!), it might end up being more of a hassle to set such a thing up.
Now to the “sort of”. Pinterest allows what is referred to as Buyable Pins, which are an excellent way to help you generate sales and introduce people to your store. While you won’t be able to directly sell there, there will be an Buy It button that will be available to users who are browsing your pin. It will give the appearance that you are making the sales there, but the transaction will be entirely handled by your merchant account and you get to keep all your money! Pinterest doesn’t get involved in the actual sales or transactions so keep that in mind in case disputes are filed. Your store won’t be hosted on Pinterest itself but it will highly facilitate the way people buy from you.
What should I do to set this up?
First of all, you need a Pinterest Business account, which is slightly different from a regular Pinterest account. If you’re new to Pinterest, just head over to the site and sign up. However, if you already have an account there and want to use the same email address, you can easily switch your account from Personal to Business. All you have to do is go to the account conversion page and you’ll be set. A Pinterest Business account gives you access to much more information such as the demographics or people viewing your items as well as analytic statistics for your individual products and pins. Your contact information (email and phone number) have to be displayed to your customers.
As we said earlier, Pinterest doesn’t technically host your store directly with them. You still need to list your products somewhere. Enter (for now) Shopify and BigCommerce. These platforms allow you to set up your own online store which you will need to link to your Pinterest account in order to enable the Buyable Pins. Etsy is still working with other platforms but these are the two available for the time being.
Once your store is ready and your Pinterest account set to Business, you will be ready to enable Buyable Pins and start selling “directly” on Pinterest.
How do I link my store to Pinterest?
Once you launch your Shopify or BigCommerce site, you have to apply for Buyable Pins through the related platform. Once you’re approved, it may take up to five days for the pins to activate. A blue Shop link will appear on your profile listing all the products that have already been pinned.
Whenever you add a new listing that matches the requirements, it should appear in a protected board with all your buyable pins. You can choose to save from those pins to public boards. For example, there will be products that you hadn’t pinned before the setup. Those will not appear directly into your shop. Make sure not to delete that protected board!
Not all my products are appearing as buyable pins!
After your application is approved, it may take a few days for Pinterest to retrieve all your products. However, not all products are eligible and this may be a reason why your product isn’t showing up as Buyable. For example, digital downloads cannot be converted to a Buyable Pin, the product has to be of a physical nature, requiring shipping. You also cannot add items that are customizable or custom made. Remember, Pinterest is not a store itself!
Of course other prohibited products are live animals, anything related to alcohol, adult products, tobacco, weapons or diet products.
Products on your store have to make it clear for the buyers of the shipping rate, the return and refund policy as well as taxes, fees and the delivery date. Once the product is purchased, Pinterest has no role when it comes to the packaging, shipping and delivery. You are responsible for the packaging and ensuring delivery is made. As mentioned earlier as well, Pinterest doesn’t get involved in disputes, damaged items, refunds and so on.
There are two other reasons a product may not be appearing as a buyable pin: they are the wrong product URL and an out of stock product. Make sure when adding a product to your store that it is not out of stock and that when you pin it, you are selecting the URL of the product page. Depending on the setup of your site, you may have accidentally selected a category page or your homepage, this will not give Pinterest the access to the right product you want to display and therefore it won’t appear on display.
How will Pinterest help me generate sales?
Your Buyable Pins will be discoverable just like any other pin. Make sure you are uploading a high quality pictures and writing great description. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes: does this pin tell me enough about the product that I’d be willing to take out my hard earned cash and buy it?
Note that if you have products variants, you can also pin these individually to increase in sales but they have to be of different pattern, size, color or material, otherwise they won’t appear.
While pins will be auto generated, you can still create additional pins with different images and styles. For example, if you’re creating handbags, you can have an image of the handbag itself, then create and image of you holding and using the handbag. The more you experiment with images, the more you’ll have individual statistics about which style of pictures is performing better and leading to more sales.
Make sure you add the Save button on your site so that other people who may land on your product page save it to Pinterest on their own boards as well! That makes more Buyable Pins that lead directly to your store!
Don’t forget to look at other stores who are performing well enough through Buyable Pins, look at their images if they’re in the same field as you. Try and figure out why they’re doing well and replicate that with your own products. Make sure of course that you’re not plagiarizing the descriptions. Make your style your own but adapt it from successful pins. No need to reinvent the wheel.
Can I advertise on Pinterest?
If you have some cash on the side, or started earning a few dollars from your sales, it would be a good idea to invest in Promoted Pins or in simpler words, advertising on Pinterest. You can run either traffic or engagement campaigns. A traffic campaign encourages people to go visit your site so you can make even more sales. Engagement however, will help you to keep your focus on what actions are happening to your pins on Pinterest itself such as clicks or saves. If you’re not sure which you should choose, it’s better to think of what your end goal is. One of the main reasons people are unsuccessful with their ad campaigns is that they spend the money without realizing what they’re paying for. Each type of campaign gives you different insights and results. Are you interested in having people head to your site? Then go with a traffic campaign. Do you want to know how people are interacting with your pins? Pick engagement.
It’s important to set a specific budget so you don’t overspend. You’ll be able to specify the amount you spend per day on your advertisement. Of course, the more you spend, the more people you reach.
At the end of your campaign, don’t forget to look at the stats and insights. If you ran a unsuccessful campaign, great, look at the data and learn from it. For example, if a lot of people looked at your pin and didn’t even save it, let alone click on it, try testing a different picture, then a different description. Take each ad campaign as a learning experience and don’t look back.
Hope that summarized everything you need to know about selling using Pinterest! Make sure to launch your store as soon as you can and take advantage of all the tools available on this platform to help you achieve your dream of living off your favorite hobby!