EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 387 - February 14, 2016 - ISSN 1528-6703     10 of 12

Sellers Choice 2016 Marketplace Ratings: Pinterest

By Ina & David Steiner

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In January 2016, EcommerceBytes surveyed over 12,000 online sellers and asked them to rate the marketplaces on which they had experience selling. An introduction to the Sellers Choice survey along with a summary of the overall ratings can be found here, along with links to results for each of the 12 online marketplaces included in the survey.


Customer Service:


Ease of Use:

Would you recommend:

Year Established: 2009
Description: Social networking site that visually organize things people like
More Info

Pinterest came in eighth place in the 2016 Sellers Choice Awards for Online Marketplaces. This is the third year we opened up nominations to social networking platforms to see if sellers are using them as an ecommerce channel, and just as last year, Pinterest and Facebook received enough nominations from readers to make it into the final list.

While Pinterest is a venue for sellers to actively market their products - some referred to it as a showcase - and many link to their marketplace listings, it's clear from seller comments that it's not yet an ecommerce venue on which transactions take place.

A typical comment: "I don't use Pinterest as a selling venue but do have a page to post items and refer to a selling site. Great to post vintage items, especially unique items!"

It's striking that while many sellers value Pinterest as a marketing channel and some say they can tell it drives traffic, it seems most respondents were unable to accurately measure its effect on sales.

But a few sellers said Pinterest was simply a waste of time. "Just extra busy work without any sales," wrote one seller.

Another said Pinterest users are "do it yourselfers" rather than buyers. One seller wrote, "Too many Pinterest followers are looking for things to copy, rather than buy."

Some sellers said they have heard there are paid options to try and drive sales but seemed vague on the details and were wary of the costs involved. One seller wrote, "Unfortunately selling on Pinterest is still very limited and only available to a few large partners of theirs."

But another seller wrote, "We still have work to do to drive more traffic but we already get a decent flow of clicks and a number of direct orders (buyable pins) on Pinterest."

Pinterest received a 4.29 in Profitability; a 4.54 in Customer Service; a 4.54 in Communication; and a 5.49 in Ease of Use. It received a 4.76 from sellers when asked, "How likely are you to recommend Pinterest as a selling venue to a friend or colleague?"

Reader Comments:The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Pinterest has been a very good marketing channel in my first year.

Pinterest - Love it! A little early to judge profits or customer service yet but ease of use and the ability to connect with a lot of people very quickly are second to none. It is so easy and very quick to build a "Shop window" in which to show your wares - I have very high hopes for Pinterest! And it is very addictive!

I have never sold any item directly from Pinterest, but have had buyers come to eBid after seeing items pinned there. More of an extra showcase really, and quick and easy to use.

Not sure... I do not sell directly on the site, but use it to drive traffic to my sites. Seems pretty solid and I think it will remain solid for many more years.

Love Pinterest as much as Etsy. I have them linked. It works like fire!!!!

I use Pinterest side by side with another site and it has been a fantastic advertising method for me and has generated me lots of traffic

I have had a few sales that originated from Pinterest pins and realize that I need to find more time to list there. It is a much better use of my time than Twitter or Facebook.

When I list items for sale on other venues, I pin them on Pinterest. I've made many sales from people following my pins to items for sale. Most of my RedBubble sales have been from Pinterest users.

I have a Pinterest account and I have things listed for sale there with PayPal buttons for payment, but no sales yet... no one from Pinterest has ever contacted me, so my answer there is a neutral, same for ease of use and recommending to others...

Our Shopify platform integrates directly with Pinterest, so sales flow through our store automatically. Now, we have only made a handful of sales with Pinterest so we don't have much data to compare.

Difficult to tell which sales are generated by Pinterest, but from what I can tell, it is great for publicity.

Spot On! Works great!!

Great venue to advertise your wares.

I have my own "for sale" board on Pinterest and use that to help with the visibility of what is for sale.

I'm almost certain that I've had buyers from Pinterest but can't be sure. I love Pinterest!

I am still holding out hope for Pinterest as they are new to this business of selling and it does take time to fine tune. I think they have a good Idea with what they are doing, and I have already seen my google page placement raise and sales click through rate from them increase after only taking the plunge a few months ago.

While my main focus with Pinterest is to show my products and to keep track of ideas and share them with others, with the ability to post a photo of a product with the link right back to our store, I have drawn in buyers from my Pinterest site to my eCrater store.

I'm on Pinterest and I have numerous people repining my pins but I can't say for sure that anyone has ever purchased anything from me for viewing a pin.

Easy to add something, to be seen and to get others to repin - but I really don't know how many sales it has led to - customers don't always tell how they found you and your stuff.

Not sure if I would consider it a selling venue, at least not how I use it. It is easy enough to use though to get ones items out there and seen. Never really had to communicate with them.

We have placed my items on Pinterest but do not know if it has helped our sales. It certainly would be a fun venue to use but there is no way to tell if it works for us.

People do respond to Pinterest posts, but you don't usually know if that is where they first saw you.

Buyable pins are so new that not many people trust them yet. Right now it only works as additional marketing for selling sites and networking.

I only just started selling on Pinterest but it appears to be an easy learning curve.

We pin many of our items and add the price and a link to purchase and we still have to sell our first item through Pinterest

Pinterest is more of a social networking site. Though we do pin our items for sale on our Pinterest page, I'm not sure how much of a selling venue it is.

Right now, Pinterest is both our favorite and leading social media channel and outlet. We still have work to do to drive more traffic but we already get a decent flow of clicks and a number of direct orders (buyable pins) on Pinterest.

We've only been using Pinterest as an advertising venue for a little over a year. I think I have picked up some customers from there, but don't know for sure. It is easy to use.

Don't know if any sales come from here as I pin my newly listed items but after 30 days, they don't link to the active item as the listing number changes.

It's decent, would recommend others before this.

Another good place to advertise, again, no way to tell if sale is direct result from posting there, see lots of traffic from there in my stats, have heard they are now offering selling platform but haven't checked it out sounds a little pricey.

It is a very nice site, I go there a lot but I do not feel I have ever had any benefit from listing there. I suppose it is like Facebook, you make a listing on Etsy or any other venue and then post on Facebook and/or Pinterest and it may drive traffic to your listing.

In my experience, people on Pinterest are DIYers, not buyers. It's easy and fun to use, though, and they provide analytics on your pins, which is helpful.

I love Pinterest because it so easy to share and post. Wonderful image views and easy to make unlimited boards. I have tried the Pin Promotion selling program, but did not like that I had to select from the pins of others as well as my own. I had to page through other pins to locate my own to promote. Tedious and time-consuming. As a highly-customizable social and promotion venue, I love it!

Used more as an advertising outlet for items and store presence, rather than direct sales.

We have not established sufficient sales records to determine whether or not this site can help us effectively sell the type of items we carry; we have had customers complain they are worried about their personal security using this venue.

Unfortunately selling on Pinterest is still very limited and only available to a few large partners of theirs.

No one buys anything. This is a great site for dreamers and people with nothing to do but make wish lists.

It's good, but not great. I use this site for FREE advertising for my business. But, my only issue is the site is limited to the different social media platforms. I use, tumbler and flicker and when I post something to Pinterest, it cannot be transferred from Pinterest to certain sites. Pinterest needs to think about expanding to other social media platforms, and not limit to just a few.

I have never sold anything on Pinterest and I have had listings for years.

I am on Pinterest and have posted pics of stuff I have for sale on other sites, and have gotten NO TRAFFIC from them... I think it is way over rated as a selling site, but it is fun from a social standpoint.

Hard and time consuming use of site. Too secret. No quick identifiable pricing. Messy Site. Pinterest is only used as a marketing tool for my website, no direct sales. Traffic counts are low for our retail.

Great exposure for your products but I have not had any sales through Buyable pins and a lot of glitches with this facet of their program. Very difficult to get anything more than a canned response from anyone there. Too bad I LOVE PINTEREST and think it could be an even greater sales tool.

Need to manually update items on Pinterest when they sell on eBay. Get messages that lots of people repost our items but never really see any sales that link back to Pinterest just extra busy work without any sales

We use Pinterest extensively but we have yet to convert this work to profit.

Pinterest isn't a selling forum, the only way people can sell on Pinterest is by linking to items for sell elsewhere, or by adding unregulated blog/email/classified style for sale messages

I would recommend it to anyone before they started the bid for paid ads. Now it is just another Google type paid ad venue. Very disappointing.

I do a lot of pinning but have never received a sale from it. I've used their advertising and had no sales.

They do not make it easy to use.....have to sign up for yet another shopping site and not how I want to do business. I do get views from Pinterest and sales when they click thru to my shop. But selling thru their platform is not so good for me.

Unless you buy into the recently implemented business account, there's not much point in ever expecting to get a sale. Too many Pinterest followers are looking for things to copy, rather than buy. After more than 4 years with Pinterest, I never made one sale from there. It is now frowned upon if you pin too many times in a certain time frame. I don't know what the consequences are, since I don't do much pinning anymore. I've deleted most of my boards, as a result of extremely poor results.

Sellers Choice Awards:
We thank all readers who took the time to rate the marketplaces. If you have comments about the survey results or the survey itself, please feel free to post them in the EcommerceBytes Blog.

About the author:

Ina and David Steiner are publishers of and have been writing about ecommerce since 1999.

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