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Is Pinterest Really Leading to Product Purchases?

Thirty-two percent of surveyed consumers have made a purchase after seeing an image on a social image-sharing site

There are some new social commerce opportunities for retailers on the horizon. Not only are consumers spending more and more time with image-sharing social networks like Pinterest and Polyvore, they are clicking through to product websites quite frequently.

According to a March survey by Bizrate Insights, 32% of online buyers in North America have made a purchase as a result of seeing an image on a social image-sharing site, such as Pinterest. That includes 26% who were able to click through to the retailer from the image to make the purchase. Six percent had to look for the product on another site as clicking the image did not take them to a retailer.

The Bizrate Insights survey also indicated that 27% of buyers may, in fact, see products they like on social networks, but might not be in the shopping mindset or have the time to look for products on retail sites. Moreover, 10% had trouble finding the products they wanted to purchase.

Discovering the product for sale is a challenge for both consumers and retailers. Given that consumers often “pin” or post photos of items from blogs and other user-generated posts, it can require some digging for the consumer to get to the retailer or source page.

Roadblocks aside, Pinterest, in particular, is becoming an ever-more trusted network for female social network users looking for recommendations. According to February data from BlogHer, 81% of active female Pinterest users trusted the site for information and advice—even more so than Twitter and Facebook. Sites like Pinterest are also fostering a high degree of influence, which may affect product consideration and purchase decisions. The same BlogHer study indicated that 47% of female social network users in the US said a recommendation on Pinterest had influenced a purchase decision.

As image-sharing social networks like Pinterest, Polyvore, Discoveredd, Fancy and Juxtapost abound, retailers and brand marketers should keep a close eye on user behavior, especially as it relates to clickthroughs and conversions. Although still evolving, the social networks appear to be a burgeoning social commerce opportunity for retail brands.

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Check out today’s other articles, “Consumers Create Own Social TV Experiences” and “Smartphones a Primary Access Device in Emerging Markets.”

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