Pinterest: Brick and Mortar’s Best Friend?

We have long heard about “showrooming”—people browsing at brick and mortar stores and then buying online, essentially turning the store into a showroom. Now, we are hearing about a different phenomenon—“reverse showrooming”—people looking at something online and then buying it in-store. 

And what is driving a lot of that? Pinterest, according to PracticalEcommerce.com: 

Pinterest is the best venue for product discovery and unlike Facebook and Twitter, inspires substantial physical-store buying. It is the platform most likely to drive impulse purchases. Forty-seven percent of Pinterest motivated purchasers stated that they “happened upon” an item they pinned and subsequently purchased without actively searching for it. “Facebook and Twitter inspired purchases are premeditated,” says Alexandra Samuel, vice president of social media at Vision Critical. “Pinterest users buy something they never intended to buy.” …

Twenty-one percent of Pinterest respondents had purchased an item in a physical store after pinning, repinning, or liking an item on Pinterest and of those, 36 percent of users said that the act of pinning greatly influenced their decision to purchase and 43 percent said it had influenced their decision somewhat.

Another article from Reuters provides even more info:

“It’s a huge window-shopping platform,” says Kyla Brennan, chief executive of HelloInsights, a Santa Monica, California, company that provides analyses of Pinterest use. “It helps people find what they really like. Does it encourage people to be a little impulsive? Of course.”

E-commerce experts say Pinterest generates more dollars per users than some other social media sites, even though Facebook, the world’s largest social network with more than a billion users, is a leading driver of shopping by volume.

Pinterest shoppers, on average, spend nearly $170 per session, according to a study by RichRelevance, an e-commerce consultant, which tracked 700 million shopping sessions. In comparison, Facebook shoppers spend $95 per session, while Twitter shoppers spend $70.

So many brands have jumped on social media—and the results have been mixed. That may be because people who are checking in with their friends don’t necessarily want to see a lot of advertising. But Pinterest appears to be different—because it specifically attracts people who are looking to shop. Pinterest may end up being the social commerce solution that so many have been seeking.

Pinterest doesn’t present things any different than the standard online site or catalog. But its power seems to lie in several things. First, it offers the ability to show a lot of product in a short amount of time. Second, “social commerce” has power. When friends say they like something, that holds a lot more sway with users than if a salesman likes it. And third is the interactive element: When users “pin” something, that makes them more likely to buy it, stats show. By taking the action, they become more invested in the product.

Needless to say, Pinterest is a natural for jewelers, even more so than other social networking services: It showcases visually oriented products, and its users are 70 percent female. Some retailers are already working it into their sales strategy. Nordstorm is experimenting with displays that show how popular a product is on Pinterest. This seems like a smart little gimmick for jewelers to adopt as well.

I’d be interested in hearing jewelers’ thoughts on whether Pinterest works for them. And for more information, check out this JCK article from May, as well as this infographic and stats. (It turns out the best time to pin something: Friday at 3 p.m. Which means for many of you, there’s still time.)

JCK News Director