Penned by Vincent Ng
Vision Critical came out with a study about how Pinterest users are influenced by the visual social network when they make in store purchases. The results of the study were published in the Harvard Business Review in the July/August 2013 issue.
Purchasers are Going Online to Shop Offline
Contrary to popular belief that a large majority of shoppers participate in what is termed as showrooming—going to a physical retail location looking for an item only to return home to order it online—the Vision Critical study found that 41% of social media users did the opposite.
These users would look at items online and then go to a retail store to make the purchase. A term that the study has called “reverse showrooming.”
This is good news for in store retailers wondering if being on Pinterest and social media is right for them. Here are some further stats to support a business’s decision to be “pin” active.
How Does Pinning, Repinning, or Liking Affect Sales?
Here are some other fascinating behaviors and thoughts that Pinterest users have before making in store purchases.
21% of Pinterest users reported that they bought an item in store store after pinning, repinning, or liking that item.
For those that were under 35, the percentage of Pinterest users who purchase jumps up dramatically to 36%.
Pinterest Plays a Key Role in the Discovery of New Products
How did shoppers, who had pinned an item before purchasing the item in store, originally discover the item?
This encompasses a total of 60% of people, who had pinned and later purchased an item, originally discovered the items on the Pinterest platform.
Pinterest shoppers are the most spontaneous out of the three major social networks, which include Twitter and Facebook.
Shoppers of the other two networks have a stronger tendency to spend time researching about a product before purchasing them.
This is why it’s important for brands (online and offline) to engage with their target audience and influencers to help drive sales. With over 70% of brand engagement generated by users of Pinterest, according to a study by Digitas and Curalate, and not by the brand itself, engagement with your target audience is never to be taken lightly.
In order to get more repins and pins a retail business needs to visually optimize their pins, not only on Pinterest, but also on their website.
Spontaneity Doesn’t Mean Quick to Purchase
When the study discusses spontaneity they are referring to the lack of influence that other social networks play in influencing a purchase. However, even though Pinterest has a strong influence in getting Pinterest users to purchase, they aren’t considered impulsive buyers.
Only 9% of Pinterest users who had pinned an item bought an item in store within 24 hours, this number rises to 10% if you account for both online and offline purchases. However, if we compare the impulsive buying of both online and offline purchases within 24 hours for Facebook and Twitter, it’s 29% and 20% respectively.
Pinning the Item Tips the Iceberg for a Purchase Decision
What can be surprising is the percentage of purchasers who didn’t have any intention of purchasing an item before pinning it, with 51% responding, “no” they were not already thinking of buying the item at the time of the pin.
With 49% of respondents saying that they already had the intention of buying the item before it was pinned.
For in store retailers, they now know that getting people to repin their content may lead to higher in store sales and flip the switch on customers who had no intention of buying a product from the brand to begin with. This spontaneous buying can lead to more brand loyalty, and a brand can position itself as a discovery tool for their target audience.
If a retail store is able to introduce new products that are right for their target audience, and creates repinnable content, then there’s some correlation that the purchase intent of people introduced to that new item will go up.
In another report by Vision Critical, from Social to Sale, they reported that 80% of users of Pinterest stated that “It’s useful for ideas and projects” and 75% reported that it’s easy to find things that interest me.
This means that Pinterst users are actively looking for pins and content that interest them. It’s the job of the retail store to understand what those topics and ideas of interest are to their customers and share them on Pinterest.
The Act of Pinning Influences Purchase Decisions
This question was also asked, “Did pinning the item influence your decision to buy it?”
That’s a whopping 79% that responded that pinning did influence their purchasing decision. Again, getting your customers to repin your content, and creating content that’s worth sharing helps sales for retailers.
Here are Actionable Insights to Take Away for Retail Businesses
Having customer insights in the way Pinterest users think are valuable for any in store business. How did Pinterest affect those that answered “yes” above?
In those statistics are some juicy pieces of information that a retail business can use to improve their pins to help increase retail sales.
Have the most popular pins offer information about the product, and describe the benefits of having it. Ensure that you also have information that provides where such products are available to buy and offer a direct link that provides the physical locations of where to buy the product in the description.
You can also see that Pinterest grabs the attention of people who were already planning to buy the product. By not using Pinterest, a retail store is missing out on easy sales, and it’s always easier to sell to an existing customer you have a relationship with than to acquire a new one.
Ensure that your board also offers incentives such as special promotions and deals or coupons. A good example to read up on is how Sony offered their Pin deals.
Have a board that’s just dedicated to that so that customers know right away where to look with no fuss. Include any restrictions you may have in the description so that they don’t get a nasty surprise when they go into the store.
Make it Easy for Customers to Buy From Your Store
Make it enticing for your customers to buy from you by creating wonderful visual content that they want to pin and share. Engage with other members of your target audience on Pinterest so that they are aware of your retail business and what the store offers.
And the more you can get customers to repin or pin your content, the more you’re increasing their purchase intent of buying a product from your store.
Here’s an infographic that gives a good outline of how Pinerest users go from the social network to in store purchase.
Vincent Ng is the president and chief blogger at MCNG Marketing, and the founder of the Pintalysis Marketing Blueprint. He is a fanatic about social media and digital marketing, and can often be found pinning creative ads on his Pinterest account. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @VincentNg or on Google+.