Pinterest driving sales and higher spend, says retailer

Converting idle browsers into customers for retailers

Pinterest may be converting idle browsers into customers for retailers, with some US stores finding that visitors referred from the popular pinboard site are more likely to make a purchase and spend more than other social referrals. Although the evidence so far is purely anecdotal, one retailer, Wayfair, tells Mashable that shoppers coming from Pinterest are 10% more likely to buy something than those coming from other social networks, and that they spend 10% more on average. Wayfair’s CEO also says that Pinterest’s inherently visual layout makes it a more effective sales channel than other social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, and even non-social referrers such as search.

Wayfair’s comments come as a growing number of retailers report that Pinterest is driving greater volumes of traffic to their sites. Attempting to leverage engagement, daily deals site Gilt is currently testing its model on Pinterest, staging a ‘Pin it to Unlock’ group-buying promotion on its Pinterest page this week, where users pinning an item a certain number of times will then receive a discount.

With Pinterest’s audience comprising well-educated females aged between 25 and 44 years old, magazine publishers are also seeing potential benefits, with sites such as Hearst-owned Cosmopolitan Latina opting to launch on Pinterest before print, to boost engagement. Speaking to Ad Age, Hearst says that it is exploring how to leverage Pinterest to boost traffic and engagement, with Elle.com’s editorial director, Keith Pollock saying: “It’s a really big initiative for us within the digital department at Hearst.

However, Pinterest itself is attempting to balance its overwhelming and fast-growing popularity against the demands of growing its business. The site is still exploring potential business models, and formed a temporary partnership with SkimLinks to generate money through affiliate links. Following user disgruntlement at such monetisation methods, Pinterest has also been forced to clarify that it will not sell user’s ‘pins’ – their posted items – to advertisers in order to make money. The firm’s options remain open, however, and it may explore different advertising options, such as sponsored pins or channels along the lines of Twitter’s ‘Promoted’ line of products. Initial user reaction suggests that the firm will struggle to implement any system that directly makes use of users’ content or interests to make money, however.

Meanwhile, Pinterest co-founder Paul Sciarra is leaving the company, with remaining founder Ben Silbermann to assume the role of CEO.

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