When Pinterest and Instagram introduced click-to-buy features last summer, dubbed “BuyButtons, the hope was that they’d help brands turn mobile browsers into shoppers. According to Sucharita Mulpuru, principal analyst for Forrester, in a new report, a year later these buy buttons haven’t taken off as hoped. They generate very low sales volume to retailers and are negligible for most large brands, says the report.
“Few retailers say that social networks are a great customer acquisition tool,” said Mulpuru. The is so much content on discovery engines such as Pinterest and Instagram, Mulpuru continued, that any individual piece of content gets very little visibility, and even less conversion.
Social media platforms cannot store inventory for brands the same way Amazon does for retailers, says the report. “On Pinterest,” says Mulpuru, “… intersection between what people want to buy and what is available to buy is huge… the majority of most popular pins… not buyable…”
Instagram and Pinterest look like natural sales generators because of their visual nature, but they haven’t yet got credit for sales, says the report. GlobalWebIndex polled social users in November of last year, and found that only 14% of respondents between the ages of 16 and 64 were interested in Instagram buy buttons. Of the five brands that Digiday interviewed for this study, none has invested heavily in buy buttons on those two platforms, seeing very infrequent use of the buttons on Instagram and Pinterest.
The Forrester report says that Snapchat is too young in the social commerce space. The network has been testing shoppable ads over the past few months just because e-commerce is trending right now. But Mulpuru doesn’t think Pinterest and Instagram should take buy buttons off. “… they may be able to refine the features or invent something that truly benefits retailers, but it would be time-consuming and challenging,” he concludes.
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