December 31, 2013

Why Pinterest is the Most Effective Social Platform in E-Commerce: 3 Sites Who Do It Right

Posted by Faith Albert Category IconConversions & UX Category IconSocial Media
Companies have been using Pinterest to convert online pins into real life sales. #Convert
Companies have been using Pinterest to convert online pins into real life sales. #Convert

Obsession. We all have one. Some of us choose food — that fatty, over-the-top, mom-made mac & cheese you gorged yourself on during your last binge. How about music? The highly-catchy Bieber song you have on repeat, but won’t tell your friends you listen to (okay, maybe this is just me). And most addictive? Pinterest. The genius of this social media collage generator is that its allure appeals to almost any and everyone. The traveler, the fitness fanatic, the tech geek, the book worm, the hipster, the fashionista, and even the mountaineer all submit to its endless swaths of color and community. Pinterest tempts us all with its visually appealing boards and lustful state-of-the-art graphics.Source: Gigya

Obviously, it should be no surprise that some e-commerce sites such as Indigo, the largest Canadian online bookseller, find that traffic generated by Pinterest users converts 50% higher to a sale than all other traffic. Not just social traffic — all traffic. In addition, Rich Relevance, a company dedicated to omni-channel personalization, reported that Pinterest buyers spend $140-$180 per transaction, as opposed to $60-$80 shopping carts from Facebook and Twitter users. And, most bluntly of all, Pinterest was ranked the most used social media platform for all e-commerce by Gigya. So there’s that.

Here are three of the most fantastical e-commerce sites that embraced their pins and made us lust after their boards like none other.

Victoria’s Secret

We’ll start with the obviously tantalizing. Let’s get past the pretty ladies and look into Victoria’s luring tactics. Victoria’s Secret (pun intended) is that it uses contests to get users to endorse its brand. In its latest contest, users had to visit the VS Facebook page to read a new contest’s rules. The rules then stated that contestants had to pin three handpicked bikini-clad women to a new board. Users could then vote for their favorite board, which would determine who wins the grand prize of an $1,000 Victoria’s Secret gift certificate. The promotion is ingenious because, according to Digitas, 70% of brand engagement is generated second-hand by unique users—not brands. Digitas also reports that top fashion brands average 46 repins on every pin. Victoria’s Secret increased its traffic to their Facebook and Pinterest page, while also accomplishing mass amounts of repinning. The lingerie giant scored big time.


Nordstrom thrives on Pinterest like few others, employing two of the platform’s business tools with ease. “Rich” product pinning allows the brand to post price information and details about a product. In addition to this, Pinterest just added a “Price Drop” feature, which allows users to know when an item they repinned has fallen in price. According to Shopify, pins that contain prices receive 36% more likes than those that don’t. Each pin easily links back to a landing page where the consumer can purchase the linked product. Nordstrom goes one step further and includes a “most pinned” section on its website. It’s also piloting a program in stores that shows customers what is trending on Pinterest. This circular love fest keeps you coming back for more and more and. . .

Petplan Pet Insurance, an unusual company who uses Pinterest to drive sales.


This might be the most out-of-the-box example, as it doesn’t fit neatly into any of the fashion, home goods, and jewelry boards that Pinterest overflows with. It also happens to be my personal favorite (and not just because I get to look at adorable puppies while researching it). This company solely operates from an e-commerce site (as opposed to omni-channel), and it uses Pinterest to make itself human. It wants its pages to reflect how much it cares about each and every animal it insures, and wants to be the leader in the pet insurance industry. Petplan added the “Pin It” button, which allows viewers to pin from anywhere on the site. Shortly after introducing this feature, Petplan saw an 87% increase in site traffic and a 12.5% increase in insurance quotes. If that isn’t enough to make you salivate, check this out. **Warning: Radioactive Levels of Cuteness***

All of these companies spend a significant amount of time thinking about how they can entice customers and ultimately seduce them into buying their product. The average Pinterest user follows 9.3 retailers, according to, so it is important to get those repins. Think about building at least 10 boards with multiple pins before unleashing your prowess on the Pinterest world. It will only make you more attractive to users.