Using Pinterest to increase ecommerce sales

Posted on 06/04/2017 by Team Hallam

87% of Pinterest users bought something because of content they saw on the platform, and around 2 million users save shopping pins on boards daily. Pinterest is a natural ecommerce partner to drive online sales. Learn simple techniques your business can use to leverage this influential network.

Significant numbers of consumers are using Pinterest as part of shopping customer journey, and in this post you will learn why Pinterest should form part of your ecommerce strategy.  Learn more about latest ecommerce developments on Pinterest, and practical techniques you can use to increase ecommerce sales and engagement.

Pinterest ecommerce statistics

In October 2016, Pinterest’s user base hit 150 million people, a growth of 50% from the previous year. Approximately 93% of ‘Pinners’ use Pinterest to plan or make purchases, compared to around 12% on other social media networks. This is despite having a smaller market share than Facebook and Twitter, indicating that users have a higher intention to purchase a product after seeing it on Pinterest than other social media channels.

Pinterest Market Share UK 2017

According to KPCB Internet Trends, 55% of Pinterest users use it to search for products.  On top of this, 87% of Pinners bought something because of content they saw on the platform, and around 2 million users save shopping pins on boards daily.

So, it’s safe to say that  in general, Pinterest users are engaged with brands, and ready to shop. Now you might be wondering if your target market is even using Pinterest? Well, according to Omnicore:

  • 81% of Pinterest users are Females.
  • Men account for only 7% of total pins on Pinterest.
  • Millennials use Pinterest as much as Instagram.
  • Median age of a Pinterest user is 40, however majority of active pinners are below 40.

Now, this doesn’t mean that if your target audience is not women under forty then you shouldn’t use Pinterest; in 2016 40% of people who joined were men which was 70% more than October 2015.

How are people using Pinterest to shop?

In 2015 Pinterest launched the perfect solution to product discovery; a visual search tool allowing users to search for items that they didn’t know how to describe.

According to Pinterest, the visual search tool:

“lets you zoom in on a specific object in a Pin’s image and discover visually similar objects, colours, patterns and more.”

pinterest visual search

How does visual search work on Pinterest?

Say for example, you’re looking for inspiration for your home office – you’d search for ‘home office ideas’ and find a pin with an item you want to buy, or just find out about.

You can now simply click on the ‘search’ icon on the top right of the image:

Pinterest visual search for online shopping

and this will open up a movable box which will allow you to zero-in on the product you’re interested in, for example this office chair:

Zooming in on Pinterest visual search

Pinterest then returns ‘visually similar results’ and there’s the chair. You can see that there are two options, one from West Elm and one from John Lewis:

Pinterest visually similar results

Clicking on either result will take you straight to the ecommerce product page where you can purchase the chair if you wish:

Pinterest Ecommerce - buying online

In March 2017, Pinterest made further updates to make the path to purchase even easier for its users.

Shop the Look (not available in the UK yet)

With Shop the Look Pins, people can find and buy products right inside fashion and home inspiration pins. Shop the Look Pins have blue circles that call out different parts of the look and users can tap the circles to shop each item they see.

Pinterest Shop the Look

Pinterest Lens (BETA, and not available in the UK yet)

Described as a “Shazam for images” Lens is a tool inside the Pinterest mobile app that lets you use your camera identify objects that you see in the real world, for example furniture, clothing, and food. So, say if you see a chair or table you like when you’re in a restaurant, Lens will be able to either find you the exact or similar furniture which you’ll then be able to purchase, without leaving the app.

With both of these updates, customers can check out without having to leave Pinterest! Even though they are not yet available in the UK, they show just how much of an ecommerce powerhouse Pinterest is aiming to become: enabling users to purchase directly from the pin closes the gap between discovering a product and actually buying it.

Your strategy for making the most of Pinterest

Hopefully by now you can see that there is a huge opportunity to connect with engaged consumers on Pinterest. So where to start? We’ve put together a quick guide to help you make the most of what the platform has to offer.

Create tailored, or themed boards

Create a series of boards that focus on a theme or product, rather than making a single board. Try and avoid using product photography from your site – think about how to inspire people, especially those using visual search.

B& Q and John Lewis are both creating boards based on rooms, colours and moods:

B&Q Themed Boards

B&Q Themed Pinterest Boards

John Lewis themed boards

Pinterest Themed Boards - John Lewis

How to optimise your Pinterest pins

An infographic released by Ripen Ecommerce highlighted some of the most successful types of images on Pinterest and following these tips can help encourage users to share your content:

How to optimise your Pinterest pins - infographic

  • Lighter images tend to get more engagement than darker images. According to a study by Curalate, pins with multiple dominant colours are repinned around 3.25 more than single colours and images with red and orange tones tend to encourage more repins than blues.
  • Adding a description of between 200 – 300 characters can increase repins, and a call to action can increase engagement by 80%
  • Taller images stand out more and have a greater chance of being repinned. The optimal size seems to be 735 by 1102 pixels.
  • Images without faces receive 23% more repins than those with faces.

This is a great example of a well-optimised pin from

Utilise different pin types

On top of traditional pins, which often include only an image, a description, and a link to your company website, Pinterest offers two types of pins that might help drive results for your ecommerce site.

Rich pins

Rich pins allow you to create pins that showcase more purchase information so that browsers can easily find a product you are selling, enabling you to offer your users additional information to generate more engagement and, eventually, higher conversions.

Rich Pins provide more context about an idea because they show extra information directly on a Pin. There are four types of Rich Pins: app, product, recipe and article. Visit Pinterest’s guide to enabling rich pins to find out how to get started.


Promoted pins

Promoted Pins are just like regular Pins, however you can pay to promote them to users based on their interests and activities to increase their visibility. Promoted Pins generally perform just as well, if not better, than organic Pins, helping people discover and save ideas.

You can choose to pay for engagements or visits to your site. Once your campaign starts, see how it’s doing and make changes.


You can find a really comprehensive guide to setting up promoted pins on Social Media Expert.


Ensuring that Pinterest is included in your ecommerce PPC strategy will help give your products more visibility, which will ultimately increase traffic, drive sales and improve brand engagement.

If you need help with your Selling Online don't hesitate to contact us.

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Using Pinterest to increase ecommerce sales

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