In any vertical, from e-commerce brand, to mass retailer, to the next great direct-to-consumer business, consumers have more options than ever before. As a result, their tolerance is low and their expectations are high. People want to be able to discover ideas that are personal to their individual tastes, and once they discover these ideas, they want to be able to shop—anytime, anywhere. Today, the digital shopping experience isn't great. Discovery is hard, and taking action once people do discover something they like is even harder. There is enormous pressure for retailers to make the shopping experience seamless and to give consumers new levels of convenience and choice.
That said, innovations in online shopping have been focused on the transaction instead of replicating the in-store discovery and inspiration experience. As a result, basket sizes are decreasing and brand loyalty is quickly disappearing. Retailers need to engage with consumers early in their decision-making process rather than relying on the last signal of intent prior to the transaction. It is particularly important when people look for inspiration that they don’t distractedly browse, but really evaluate their options to take action. By enabling new ideas and suggesting use cases and occasions for products, brands can make the most of this active time to guide people through their journey.
● It helps brands matter before decisions are made
Depending on the category, planning can start very early in the purchase journey. For instance, people start planning on Pinterest three months before they use other platforms. According to Neustar MarketShare,[i]Pinterest is more likely to influence purchase decisions in the beginning of the purchase journey than other platforms, leading to 40% bigger baskets and faster conversions.
● It is ideal for introducing new offerings
Interestingly, among the more than billions of searches happening every month on Pinterest, 97% of the top 1,000 searches are unbranded,[ii] showing people are open to hearing from brands they haven’t considered before.
● It is a widespread behaviour among the most valuable audiences
● It is visual at heart
At its core, retail is about introducing consumers to new ideas that inspire them to make a purchase, and the future of retail centres on its ability to create discovery experiences. Online, this comes in the form of visual search. Unlike tapping text or calling out commands, visual search sits squarely in the native shopping environment consumers already understand; it’s similar to how they shop in physical stores today. Visual technology powers everything on Pinterest - from the content recommendations to the way ads are served – and image recognition and machine learning fuel the shopping experience.
Return on Inspiration will become as important as Return on Investment, as tapping into inspiration builds long-term brand love, salience and shareholder value. To get started today, brands can leverage the data troves the more than 250 million Pinners[v] around the world create when they plan their meals and decide what to wear. This enormous bank of knowledge represents a unique opportunity to understand the trends that matter today and the ones that will matter tomorrow, and to respond to consumer demand with enhanced product development and individualised communications strategy.
This article is excerpted from the report Data-Driven Commerce. Download it now for key insights on winning at commerce in the new digital economy.
[i] Neustar MarketShare, Retail MTA Analysis, MTA study with 3 blinded advertisers, June 2017
[ii] Pinterest internal data, US, February 2017
[iii] comScore, US, October 2018
[iv] Ketchum, Marketing to Women, January-October 2017
[v] Pinterest internal data, Global, September 2017