woman shopping

“Buy” buttons are popping up all over social media — and Pinterest, Google and Instagram are getting into the game.

But will these latest ventures into e-commerce pay off? Just last year, Facebook launched its “buy” button, while Twitter began testing its own version. Without a lot of numbers to be found, at this point, it may be too soon to tell whether or not these will flop or fly.

However, David Rekuc, marketing director for Ripen eCommerce, has high hopes for Pinterest in this space. “Facebook and Twitter are true social networks, but Pinterest is a discovery tool,” he told CMSWire. “It serves as a list of things you wish you had. Therefore, Pinterest already has a consumer mindset to it.”

Pinterest Users: Ready to Buy

Pointing to the statistics, Rekuc said Pinterest is better than Facebook and Twitter at converting followers into customers. “There is significantly more traffic to a site via Pinterest from consumers that are ready to buy,” he said. “There are better dollar-per-click metrics and higher average order values for a Pinterest referral compared to Facebook and Twitter.”

According to Ripen eCommerce research, the average purchase for Pinterest users was between $140 and $180, whereas Facebook’s came in at $80, with Twitter trailing at $60.

Further confirming the Pinterest user’s purchasing power, a study by Millward Brown Digital found 93 percent of Pinterest users plan for purchases using the platform, and 87 percent use Pinterest to help them make purchase decisions.

A Proven Driver

Another reason Rekuc believes Pinterest will succeed in its e-commerce efforts is because it is already sending “lucrative content” to sites. He used Nordstrom — one of Pinterest’s “buy” button launch partners – as an example.

If you walk into a Nordstrom store, he said, you can see Pinterest logos attached to items that are trending on the platform, tying both the digital and in-store experiences together.

“Each of Nordstrom’s Pinterest boards has a couple hundred thousand followers,” he said. “Their items get the reach because they invested in making it a good platform. They’re rocking both the brick and mortar, and digital component.”

Buyable Pins on Mobile First

According to the latest numbers from Pinterest, 80 percent of the platform’s traffic now comes from mobile. The Ripen eCommerce research put that number at 75 percent just last summer. “When it comes to Pinterest, mobile is really important,” said Rekuc. “People are sitting on their couch, or they go to sleep pinning.”

However, there are challenges with mobile and e-commerce, including the fact that mobile conversions are lower than that of desktop and tablet conversions, he continued.

“Mobile is seen as an in-store driver,” he said. “The action is often taking place someplace else. Ultimately, buyers end up purchasing on a desktop or going into a store to buy, so it’s difficult to attribute purchases to mobile.”

To combat the conversion issue, he added, both Pinterest and Google kept their focus on mobile when it came to their “buy” buttons.

“Both giants rolled out their ‘buy’ buttons for mobile, specifically to solve the issue that it’s hard to buy on a phone,” he said. “The ‘buy’ button reduces friction of purchase on a mobile device.”

He added that Pinterest is using its ApplePay partnership to show consumers that buying from them “is as easy as buying an app from the app store.”

What About the Pitfalls?

For all of the promise that Rekuc sees with Pinterest, he also has some reservations.

First, because Pinterest doesn’t have a review system in place like Amazon and eBay do, buyers may not be as confident purchasing.

“It’s amazing how compelling this is on a platform you trust, like Amazon,” he said. “Your brain just processes the fact that you’re buying something quality. Pinterest doesn’t have this. Time will tell if they bring it in.”

In addition, because only certain products lend themselves to a purchase without a deeper investigation such as sizing, additional images or video snippets, Pinterest could have some trouble competing with the likes of Amazon in this area, he said.

“This is less of an issue because there are some products that people fall in love with at first sight and have no problem buying on-site,” he said. “However, long-term, it could be an issue.”

Referencing the success that other social media platforms have had with video, he added that Pinterest may very well be considering video, albeit carefully.

“I have a feeling it may be coming – even gifs. But Pinterest has been very careful about protecting the integrity of what the platform is all about. They’ve made sure ads are visually compelling so they don’t break the user experience. Even with their ‘buy’ button, they’re not being super heavy-handed with it and are very protective about keeping their user base.”

Title image by Asa Smith Aarons.

Simpler Media Group, 2015