Is Pinterest mobile the key to social commerce

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By now we’ve all heard of the Pinterest phenomenon and how the site grew to 10 million users in just nine months. How they grew an additional 155% between December 2011/ January 2012. How it’s the fastest growing site of all time. Out of all these are amazing stats but my favorite is 20%. That’s how much of the traffic to Pinterest is from mobile devices.

Other than the fact, that mobile is one of my main focuses, I like that statistic because I believe there is a potential tipping point for social commerce in that 20%. Social commerce comes in two flavors.

  1. Businesses partnering with their customers to design/sell their product(s)/service(s)
  2. The selling of product(s)/service(s) through referrals by social connections

The second type is the one that has most business excited. I think that the Pinterest app’s strength lies in its ability to allow users to share products/services they like while they are out. So, if a woman likes an outfit she’s trying on she could take a picture of it in the mirror and post it to Pinterest. (Yes, she could do this on Instagram but the focus of the app is different. Instagram is for the amateur photographer in all of us while Pinterest is specifically to share things we like.) In my mind, mobile is more likely to play a major roll than the standard service, because it’s more personal. When someone stops to take a picture with their mobile device, it means more than simply finding something online. This is not only because of the time/thought that goes into taking a picture but more so, the personal nature of the mobile phone. A person can add any personal sentiment (such as location) in the comment section so that others can buy the same item. (The app allows users to specify ‘place’ but it doesn’t seem to add the location of the shot. Something that would be nice to add.)

If you currently have retail clients, I recommend that you encourage them to utilize sales people to drive in-store traffic through the Pinterest mobile app. I bet in-store traffic increases over time and a sales person could also help get customers the online link to the same product. Social commerce is exciting and Pinterest has the potential to help it evolve quickly!

By Michael Myers

I'm an Associate Teaching Professor of Digital Marketing at the Daniels College of Business, University of Denver. I also consult with startups and established brands. I'm currently focused on artificial intelligence, cognitive neuroscience and culture. I am married to an amazing woman and have two incredible children. I was raised in Colorado and spend my free time with family, biking, snowboarding and going to the Pacific Ocean to SCUBA dive and/or surf. I'm passionate about architecture, design, street art, photography and the art that tattooing has evolved into.

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