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March 20, 2024

Pinterest for E-Commerce: The Ultimate Guide to Driving Sales with Pinterest

So many businesses overlook the potential of Pinterest for e-commerce, even though it's constantly evolving with innovative e-commerce features. Have you ever considered Pinterest as your marketing funnel's starting point? Did you know that 90% of our clients’ Pinterest-driven website visitors are brand new? Discover why it may be time to press the reset button on how you think about Pinterest and how it can be your gateway to attracting new shoppers to your online store. Ready to get started?

Mary Lumley - Pinterest Expert

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Why use Pinterest for E-commerce?

Pinterest is a visual search engine. It's a place to get discovered by people who don't know you yet. If you want to buy Nike running shoes, you'll head over to Google or their website. You don't go to Pinterest. You can read more about this in Pinterest vs Google: 6 Key Differences & Opportunities for Business. However, if you're looking for eco-friendly party decorations, trendy spring outfits or French style kitchens, Pinterest is your go-to place.

Initial touchpoint that brings you visibility and new customers

Pinterest as a whole is mostly a top of funnel platform that captures users during their research phase. Pinners explore ideas for their next project, whether it's a weeknight recipe, a DIY project, or their next vacation. Pinterest does the heavy lifting to introduce your brand to new users who are in a purchasing mindset. They're open to new ideas and products and, if they like what you show them, they're highly likely to pay a visit to your website. It's all about reaching the right people at the right time. Some facts about Pinterest:

  • Pinners are Planners, not impulse buyers. Purchases on Pinterest are the result of a longer, more considered journey.
  • This fosters high quality, returning customers. Users might explore options elsewhere, but they often return to their saved pins, leading to more deliberate purchases.
  • Pinterest is great at targeting interests. When people open their app, they want people to see exactly what they're interested in based on what they search for and the ideas they save.
  • Pinterest is a very efficient organic traffic driver. Pins link back to your website. Very often people will click through, check out your website and come back to Pinterest to continue their research (added bonus: the additional visits assist your Google ranking too!).
  • It's a safe, positive online space that users tend to visit weekly, not daily, seeking a break from the chaos of other platforms.

Shop Features & Innovations

Pinterest rolls out the red carpet for e-commerce businesses, offering a suite of features designed to simplify selling through the platform. By setting up shop on Pinterest, you'll unlock tools that facilitate the search and purchase experiences of your prospective customers, such as:

  • Retail Catalogue (previously Product Catalogue)
  • Verified Merchant Program
  • Pinterest Tag
  • Pinterest Ads
  • Pinterest Analytics, including conversion data
F&B Verified Merchant example - Pinterest for E-commerce

Blue tick identifies Verified Merchant accounts 

Pinterest has recently upped its game with some exciting updates, introducing body type filters to help users find inspiration that mirrors their own body shape more closely. This new feature complements the already available filters for hair type and skin tone, making it easier than ever for Pinners to see themselves in the pins they discover.

Plus, this past year has seen the rollout of innovative advertising options like Premiere Spotlight, showcase ads, quiz ads, and travel catalogue ads, offering fresh, dynamic ways for brands to connect with their audience. Read about the latest Pinterest product and company news on our Pinterest news page which we update almost daily!

Zero commission - it's not a marketplace!

Pinterest is where thoughtful planning meets brand discovery. It's not social media, it's not a marketplace. It's purely a search and discovery engine. Your content on Pinterest always links directly back to your website. That's where Pinterest will take people who click through, whether it's a product catalogue item, an organic pin or a paid ad.  You're in control of the consumer journey once they land on your website, and you pay zero commission to Pinterest when they buy your product(s)!

Three other good reasons to consider Pinterest for E-Commerce

What types of businesses should use Pinterest for E-commerce?

Pinterest works for many different types of e-commerce brands, particularly within lifestyle sectors. Categories like home decor, fashion and accessories, beauty, travel, wellness, sports, health, gardening, food & drinks, and parenting stand out as crowd favourites.

Both Business-to-Consumer (B2C) and Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) models find notable success on Pinterest. If you're thinking about adding Pinterest to your marketing strategy, your success will depend on: 

  • The quality of your images and/or videos on Pinterest. Inspirational lifestyle and/or solution-focused content works best.
  • The quality of your website - Pinterest can send you traffic, but the actual conversions happen on your website. How clear is the messaging on your website? How easy is it to take the next step after arriving on your website from Pinterest?
  • Your target audience – Is your target audience active on Pinterest?
  • A coherent strategy – An SEO optimised Pinterest account (Pinterest is a search engine!), clear marketing goals and pre-defined KPIs to measure your success are essential.

How to get started with Pinterest for E-commerce

Pre-requisites to get started

Before you get started with Pinterest for e-commerce, you need to have a few things in place first:

  • Create a Pinterest business account. If you already have an account, check if it is business account. If not, convert it from personal to business. You can't sell on Pinterest without a business acccount.
  • Claim your website on PinterestThis signals to Pinterest that you have a legitimate online store.
  • Install the Pinterest Tag. It's a piece of code you add to your website. It lets Pinterest track visitors to your site, as well as the actions they take on your site after seeing your Pinterest ad. Tag installation is also a prerequisite to apply for the Verified Merchant program (see below).
  • Review Pinterest's merchant guidelines to ensure that you meet their merchant criteria.  

Connect your Retail Catalogue to Pinterest

Benefits of connecting your inventory to Pinterest

By connecting your Retail Catalogue (previously Product Catalogue) to Pinterest, you can show off your products and turn them into shoppable Product Pins. These Pins are designed to grab the attention of Pinterest users by clearly indicating that your items are available for purchase. They display key details such as the product name, description, price, and whether it's in stock.

Best of all, these product pins are directly linked to the items in your store. When people click through, they're taken straight to the product page in your online store!

It also opens up the possibility to run catalogue campaigns that allow you to dynamically retarget people with a picture of a product that they've already seen on your website.

How to connect your catalogue

  • Integrate with a third-party e-commerce platform - The easiest way to connect your product catalogue is via a 3rd party integration. If your online store is hosted by a supported e-commerce platform such as Shopify, it's super easy. It literally takes three clicks to make the connection with Shopify's Pinterest app and sync your Shopify store with your Pinterest account.
  • Connect your products via a third-party feed manager - For large online stores, Pinterest also supports product uploads from a range of 3rd party product feed managers, such as Channable or DataFeedWatch. 
  • Upload your products manually - If you cannot use any of the the 3rd party integrations or if your product inventory is relatively small, you can opt for a manual product upload. For this process you need to create a data source file with a product list and information about those products (ID, title, description, link to the product, image link, price, availability,...).

Besides the fact that the process is a bit clunky, the other disadvantage is that your products on Pinterest don't get automatically updated. So, you need to remember to upload a new list every time there are changes to your product list to ensure that the product and/or product information people see on Pinterest matches your website. You can find out more about how to prepare a manual data source here.

  • An up-to-date list of supported 3rd party e-commerce platform and feed manager integrations for Pinterest is available here.
Tikamoon Verified Merchant example - Pinterest for E-commerce

Apply to join the Verified Merchant program

When you have connected your product catalogue to Pinterest, we strongly recommend that you apply to join Pinterest's Verified Merchant program. The blue checkmark indicates that the account has been vetted by Pinterest and this has several advantages:

  • It gives your brand some serious street cred, because it indicates that your e-commerce store is a trusted business that meets Pinterest's merchant guidelines.
  • Products from verified merchants are eligible for increased exposure, such as being included in a listing of related products that shows just below a similar product that you're viewing.
  • Up-to-date price and availability information shows on all your product pins
  • USA only - Hosted checkout allows users to check out directly within the Pinterest app. Online shoppers are more likely to make a purchase if the process is easy.

You can apply for Verified Merchant status via the Business hub on your Pinterest account or here. Before doing so, you must ensure that your product catalogue is connected to Pinterest, the Pinterest tag correctly installed on your Shopify store website and that you meet Pinterest's Merchant Guidelines. You should also ensure that your Pinterest profile has a profile picture and a completed “About” section. More about this below.

Pinterest for e-commerce product display

Shopping and product views on Pinterest showing products from connected retail catalogues 

Create boards and content strategically

Now that you have set up shop on your Pinterest account, the next step is to update the "About" section (brand introduction at the top of your Pinterest page) and plan what type of boards (i.e. content categories) to publish.

Step 1 - Keyword research

Keywords are the heart of your Pinterest page setup and content strategy. Since Pinterest is a visual search engine, keywords play a crucial role in helping your account and content appear in searches. For more info read Pinterest SEO: 4 Smart Tactics That Will Boost Your SEO Ranking.

To identify relevant keywords that people may use to discover your products, use the Pinterest search bar to find keywords related to your niche. Create a keyword list and incorporate them into your "About" section, board names, pin titles and descriptions.

Gardenary Profile example - Pinterest for E-commerce

Top results in Pinterest search bar for "raised bed" (left) and an example how to apply this in your About section (right)

Step 2 - Create relevant and discoverable boards

Next, create at least 5 boards on your page, each for a category that fits your business. The board topics should be aligned with search terms that people use on Pinterest and the content that you plan to publish there. Related search terms that Pinterest proposes are also a great source for board titles - see examples below:

Board naming examples - Pinterest for E-commerce

Keyworded board name examples & Pinterest's Related Search suggestions

Step 3 - Seed your products to grow brand awareness and leads

Marketing your products on Pinterest is all about the long haul. It's a bit like cultivating a garden, where "seeding" your products plays a crucial role. This strategy involves consistently sharing your product images on the platform, aiming to place them in front of your desired audience. This demands regular effort to ensure your pins reach the right eyes.

For your pins to be seen, you'll need to optimise them. This helps Pinterest's algorithm distribute your content across users' home feeds, search results, and within shoppable pin feeds, such as related product listings. Regularly posting content, both organic and paid, is one of the keys of a successful Pinterest strategy.

So, where do you begin? Kickstart your journey with these critical Pinterest tactics:

Create eye-catching Lifestyle images of your products


When it comes to a great idea, people know it when they see it. Make sure your images inspire to act. Create remarkable visuals in vertical format. Lifestyle images that show your product being used work best. You need to get noticed to get clicks!

Add keyword-rich pin titles & descriptions


Pinterest is a search engine. List the keywords and key phrases that people use to find your products. Use them in pin titles and descriptions so that your products start turning up in search results and feeds. Your products need to get found to get them noticed!

Pin daily


Pin "fresh" content every day. Fresh Pins are defined by Pinterest as images or videos that haven't been seen before. Find out more about fresh content.

Our favourite Pinterest scheduler is Tailwind. It enables you to post pins automatically at times when your audience is most active. 

Product marketing mistakes to avoid on Pinterest

Here are some of the most common mistakes that are made when marketing products on Pinterest:

  • Give your products names that people actually search for.
  • Pin inspirational images that show your product being used, i.e. lifestyle images, videos, story pins in vertical format.
  • Create vertical pins from horizontal and square product images. Crop and/or collate to turn horizontal into vertical!
  • Share pins from other Pinners that are of value to your target audience.
  • Have a custom 404 page to redirect traffic from sold-out products, because pins stay on Pinterest forever!
  • Give your products or their properties exotic names. People search for a light pink cashmere scarf, not a "misty rose signature fashion accessory".
  • Repin product catalogue images that show the product on a white background without any context. People come to Pinterest to be inspired. Show them what your product can do for them.
  • Pin horizontal or square product images. They tend to go unnoticed in the Pinterest feed.

Advertise on Pinterest

Finally, you can promote your pins on Pinterest to give them an extra boost. This is by far the most effective way to drive traffic and sales. Promoted pins are similar to regular pins but with an advertising budget. They appear in search results and users' feeds, increasing your chances of driving more sales.

There are many different ways in which to promote your products. For example, after connecting your product catalogue to Pinterest, you can promote product groups and use dynamic retargeting to target people on Pinterest who have already visited your website or have items sitting in their shopping cart.

Ready to connect your e-commerce store and turn Pinterest into a valuable asset for your online business? 

Pinterest for Ecommerce - Need some help setting up shop on Pinterest?

We work with online retailers and brands in a wide range of industries in the lifestyle and travel space. We help product-focused B2C and D2C e-commerce businesses get their store in front of new customers.

Whatever stage you're at with Pinterest, we work with you to define the objectives and overall strategic approach that will increase traffic and sales for you. Consistently & Durably.

Want to learn more about marketing your business on Pinterest? Book a Discovery Call!

Linkedin photo of Keziah Biggs

We’ve seen engagement increase significantly

"We love working with them as the process and communication is straightforward, they’re a proactive team dedicated to continually adjusting and adapting to get results, and we know our presence on Pinterest is being managed well."

KEZIAH BIGGS  //  Head of Marketing

Pin for later!

Learn why and how to turn your  product catalog into shoppable pins. The Ultimate Guide to driving more e-commerce sales with Pinterest! | Mary Lumley – Pinterest Marketing for e-Commerce & Travel

Mary Lumley - Pinterest Marketing for eCommerce & Travel
Pinterest for E-commerce: How to Drive Sales with Pinterest

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