Pinterest's Buyable Pins Help Retailers Gain New Customers, Sell Midpriced Items
Head of Commerce
Since Pinterest launched buyable pins for iOS and Android devices in June 2015, major retailers like Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Macy’s as well as emerging online merchants have used them to entice mobile users to make purchases. Buyable pins feature a “buy it” button on mobile devices and allow users to purchase an item without leaving Pinterest. eMarketer’s Tricia Carr spoke with Michael Yamartino, head of commerce at Pinterest, about how users responded to buyable pins during the holidays and what marketers should keep in mind as they plan for the 2016 holiday season.
eMarketer: What was Pinterest users’ level of interest in buyable pins over the 2015 holiday season?
Michael Yamartino: We saw an increase in usage between Thanksgiving and Christmas, which was exciting. People bought gifts, but one of the other things that we noticed with buyable pins was right around Black Friday. When you pin a buyable pin, we let you know when the price drops. When all of those things went on sale on Black Friday, we notified a lot of people that the things they loved were now cheaper. It was great to see them come back and buy through the buyable pins.
“One of the most exciting things we hear from marketers is that they’re seeing a lot of new customers come in through buyable pins.”
eMarketer: What key takeaways about buyable pins should marketers keep in mind for the 2016 holiday season?
Yamartino: One of the most exciting things we hear from marketers is that they’re seeing a lot of new customers come in through buyable pins. They’re not just reaching out to their existing base—they’re able to expand their audience through Pinterest.
Online merchant FlyAway BlueJay said that 100% of their sales generated through buyable pins are from people who have never bought from them before. They also told us that 20% of total sales over the holidays came from buyable pins. For them, this is a channel that helps them reach a new audience.
eMarketer: What lessons came out of the 2015 holiday season that could help marketers plan for the 2016 season?
Yamartino: We talked to another merchant, online home decor shop Waiting On Martha, about what they saw over the holiday season vs. what they expected. Their experience was similar to other merchants. They thought that they’d sell a lot of stocking stuffers. Since buyable pins are a mobile product, you might expect people to just make impulse purchases.
Rather than people buying things for $5 to $50, they found that people bought midpriced items in the $45 to $170 range. It’s surprising and encouraging that even at this early stage, people are willing to make a substantial purchase on their phone and through a platform like Pinterest.
“It’s surprising and encouraging that even at this early stage, people are willing to make a substantial purchase on their phone and through a platform like Pinterest.”
eMarketer: What’s your advice for marketers as we get closer to the 2016 holiday season?
Yamartino: People pin [products and ideas] for the holidays further in advance than they start interacting on other platforms for the holidays. That’s the main message—every platform and channel is different. Marketers have to think about how their specific product and their customer base interact with those platforms.
For Pinterest, right now we do great for fashion, home decor and beauty. We’ll expand from those, but those are the verticals where our users are naturally engaging with the platform and planning for the future.
eMarketer: Ecommerce growth once again outdid retail growth over the 2015 holiday season. Where do platforms like Pinterest come into play to drive ecommerce growth?
Yamartino: Ecommerce growth will likely outpace brick-and-mortar retail growth for a long time. Social commerce and distributed commerce, like what we’re doing, will help drive that. It’s a small percentage right now because it’s a new channel—marketers are still figuring out how to leverage it and optimize for it. It’s at the fledgling stage, but over the next few years, it will start growing and become meaningful for retailers.