Pinterest is gearing up for a big rest of the year thanks to a newly announced partnership with the e-commerce platform Shopify.
Shopify has automatically enabled Pinterest’s Rich Pins for all 100,000+ merchants that use its e-commerce platform. This means that whenever an online shopper Pins a product from a merchant’s Shopify store and shares it on Pinterest, the Pin will carry with it important product information such as pricing and stock availability for that item.
In a recent report from BI Intelligence, we analysed the data and spoke to leaders in the social commerce space to understand how social media can play an important role at the different stages of the retail and e-commerce “purchase funnel,” the long process that leads to a retail sale. At the bottom of this post, you can see a graphic from BI Intelligence showing what the purchase funnel really looks like.
Pinterest already drives a huge share of referrals to e-commerce sites, but now it’s closing the gap between product discovery and purchase. It’s moving into being much more of a direct retail sales driver. Facebook too is moving in this direction, adding a “Buy Now” button to ads and Page posts from brands.
Here’s how social commerce companies are driving sales:
- It’s not about click-to-buy: Social commerce is not simply transactional — it’s not just about offering a click-to-buy link next to an offer on Facebook. Social commerce will never be what some have wanted it to be, an “Amazon killer.”
- What will help social commerce grow as a sales driver? The key is to help connect the funnel end-to-end, or to connect different mediums — say, social media and TV — to help coax a consumer down the funnel.
- There are a few ways to encourage purchases: Retargeted advertising may be one missing link. It enables social commerce to connect the sales funnel from end-to-end by serving ads that remind users of products they have browsed across the Web but have not yet purchased. Facebook has made huge strides with its retargeted efforts.
- Also: Clever merchandising and user interfaces allow for sticky merchant-to-consumer relationships that can help nudge a consumer toward purchase over time.
- Finally, referrals shouldn’t be discounted: Another solution is for social commerce to develop as a sales referral engine, and take a cut of the sales. If social commerce sites have a large enough audience, even a low referral and conversion rate will result in a good revenue stream.
In full, the report:
- Explains how time-sensitive offers on social media can motivate users to snap out of casual browsing or social media-grazing and into a buying mood
- Includes interviews with three social commerce industry leaders
- Discusses why Twitter has a unique opportunity at the bottom of the funnel
- Looks at Pinterest’s prospects as a top-of-funnel platform
- Reveals average order values and order volume for a leading social commerce platform
- Breaks down the share of social media-generated e-commerce sales for each social network
- Looks at the demographics of social commerce consumers
- Compares Twitter, Facebook and more traditional digital methods of retail customer acquisition such as search engines