WHAT DID WE DO BEFORE PINTEREST??
How did we plan weddings, get back on a healthy track, or discover the latest DIY projects? You’d think the answer would be relatively easy; it all worked out somehow. Yet, I can’t help but think how lost I’d be in planning my own wedding without countless hours scrolling through Pinterest feeds. In fact, for more times every day, across all areas of my life– whether it’s ingredients for recipes, home decor, trendy workout equipment, make-up or beyond – Pinterest is the first destination in my decision.
The point is that for many people: It’s Pinterest first, purchase next.
The app is influencing our future purchases and ultimately revolutionizing the way we discover, plan for, and seek out products. In fact, at the recent 4A’s Transformation conference, Kevin Knight of Pinterest largely presented the platform, in simplest terms, as a means for people to plan for what’s ahead.
So as people plan purchases, how should brands prepare to jump in?
MORE IS MORE: Pinterest is like walking into Target, you’ll always leave with more than you needed… and that’s not always a bad thing. Pinterest offers a tremendous amount of information on just about any topic. But more importantly, it offers inspiration. Whether you’re planning a wedding or just want to be inspired by new chicken recipes, it opens your eyes to the things you didn’t know you needed but now you want—and you won’t forget about them either. Pinterest allows you to categorize your saved “pins” in personal boards directly on the app to use in-store when you want to make a purchase. Even if you don’t pin, stores like Target are including the site’s logo on merchandise that’s been featured on Pinterest and gained popularity, just to remind shoppers that’s what they should be buying.
The lesson: You can win in Pinterest by preparing tons of content that helps people aspire and plan.
VISUALS RULE: Pinterest follows the same principle that says, “We eat with our eyes first.” Not only is it a wealth of information and inspiration, but it’s also presented in an aesthetically pleasing way. The organized grid style design provides a window-shopping like experience for the user. It allows them to see and comprehend what they’re looking for in a faster and more effective way through primarily picture messaging. As shoppers we are inspired by what we see and influenced to buy, whether it’s something we need or not.
The lesson: Visual quality and storytelling wins. Step it up.
STILL A PLACE OF TRUST: Unlike most other social sites, Pinterest has been able to avoid major outside influence from brands promoting their products. For the most part, pins are created by everyday people such as bloggers, artists, trainers, and chefs who just want to share their passions and ideas. Pinterest has been able to hold onto a notion of trust and community. Users buy products they see on Pinterest or used in recipes because they trust what they are seeing, not because they are influenced by brands.
The lesson: As a brand playing in this space, do everything you can to genuinely preserve the authenticity of the experience.
Of course, Pinterest is not the end-all be-all for shopper. The fact that a person can see an item of interest and not directly make a purchase 100% of the time can be quite frustrating. Inspiration is great, but in a society driven by immediate satisfaction it’s hard to ignore the fact that you can’t just make a purchase through the site.
Pinterest has clearly changed our pre shop behavior, but will it have a lasting impact? Will users begin to demand the immediate satisfaction of seeing a product and buying it directly from the site vs. having to navigate through other webpages, or worse, actually go to the store? I’m willing to bet they will.
The future for Pinterest could go one of two ways: They either buckle down and become a fully functioning ecommerce site or remain purely inspirational and allow someone else to come in and create the next social commerce site.
For an experience that’s all about planning, I’m sure their leaders are doing just that.
Carly Smith is a strategist at Momentum Atlanta