Pinterest is fantastic for finding new products and ideas for everyday life, but can you actually directly buy or shop stuff from Pinterest?
Pinterest has only recently launched a feature that allows users to directly purchase products within the Pinterest app. Unfortunately, very, very few merchants actually use this feature.
This means that for the foreseeable future you will still be stuck with clicking on product pins that take you to websites outside of Pinterest.
The problem with that approach is that, in the worst-case scenario, you’ll be scammed or at least pay way too much for a mediocre product.
Fortunately, Pinterest does have some really useful features that will 1) help you find interesting products you couldn’t otherwise and are 2) sold by trusted merchants.
How to buy clothes and products directly within Pinterest
In August 2022 Pinterest launched an integration with Shopify so that store owners who use Shopify can sell products directly on Pinterest.
With this integration, Pinterest users would now be able to find a product, put it in a shopping cart, go through checkout and complete payment all within Pinterest.
Unfortunately, this integration only works for Shopify stores.
This means that big brand names such as Amazon, Walmart, Target or Wayfair do not let you buy their products directly within Pinterest.
The reason for this is pretty simple: all those big eCommerce players want you to leave Pinterest and visit their own sites.
This is because it’s much, much easier for Amazon or Walmart to convince you to buy more stuff if you’re on their platform, rather than on Pinterest.
They also gain a ton more information about you as a consumer if you shop on their website versus Pinterest.
This means there’s an almost 100% chance you will never be able to buy Amazon products directly within Pinterest, since it’s not in Amazon’s interest to let you do that.
On the bright site, you can still buy from stores that use Shopify, so that’s a win, right?
Well, yes and no. But mostly no.
Most Shopify store owners are your run-of-the-mill dropshippers. People who basically buy stuff for cheap from overseas and try to sell them at a big markup within the USA, UK, Canada (or wherever your home country is).
This means they aren’t exactly trustworthy or offer the best price-to-quality ratio.
Besides, the conditions to launch a Shopify store on Pinterest are so restrictive they probably won’t become common until at least 2025.
Use the “Shop” button to find actual products
Since you can’t actually buy stuff directly within Pinterest, the next best thing is to just find product listings on Pinterest, follow the links to the stores and purchase the product outside of Pinterest.
The best way to find interesting products on Pinterest is to use the “Shop” filter in the search bar.
Clicking that button completely removes non-product Pins from Pinterest and leaves you only with product pins from verified merchants that sell their own products.
This filters also clears out most dropshippers from your search results as well as all affiliate marketers.
This is a good thing, since these categories just want to make a quick buck and offer you little (or no) legal protections as a consumer.
The Pinterest algorithm doesn’t know if a product is good or not
Pinterest, unlike Amazon’s product search, does not filter products based on their quality or reviews.
This is because Pinterest, unlike Amazon, isn’t a platform that can host products so it cannot collect sales data or reviews for those products.
As such, a product that appears right at the top of a Pinterest search might not be that good.
Instead, it just means the store’s marketing people know how to search optimize the product Pins so they appear at the top of a Pinterest search result.
By comparison, Amazon search generally tries to order its search results so products with the most sales and best reviews come first. The rest of the search results are then filled with products that either don’t sell so well, or have average to poor reviews.
The big takeaway here is that you should really take your time to research the quality of products that appear in Pinterest search. Don’t assume that first product in a search result = best product.
Beware of affiliate marketers and dropshippers
In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, affiliate marketers are people who make money through commissions whenever someone buys a product they recommend.
The problem with affiliate marketing is that it strongly encourages conflicts of interest.
For example, an affiliate marketer might choose to recommend you a $500 couch not because it’s good, but because the seller offers a 20% commission (so $100) for any sale an affiliate might generate.
This is despite the fact that a $200 couch might be vastly superior in comfort and quality compared to the $500 one.
However, if the $200 couch doesn’t have an affiliate program, then the marketer has no financial incentive to recommend it, so instead they push you to the $500 one that gives them a giant paycheck.
Affiliate marketers are everywhere on the Internet, and Pinterest is especially vulnerable to them because it’s so product oriented.
This French Pinterest account about gaming products is a typical affiliate marketer. Notice how most of the links point to AliExpress or Amazon.
To avoid buying bad products pushed by unscrupulous Pinterest affiliate marketers, always double check their profile to see if they are a verified merchant.
If they are, this means they sell their own products, and don’t just get a kickback out of every sale.
In any case, if you’re not using the “Shop” filter, know that at least 30% of all Pins on Pinterest are pushed by an affiliate marketer.
Pinterest doesn’t offer you ANY legal protections
Finally, the most important thing to know is that Pinterest offers you no legal protections if you buy something from a merchant on their platform.
This is because none of the products that appear on Pinterest are actually sold on the platform. In nearly every case, you will be redirected outside Pinterest to complete the purchase on the merchant’s site.
This means that any problems you will have with a merchant on Pinterest can only be resolved with the merchant in question.
If you try to contact Pinterest customer support they will just shrug and say it’s not their business and to resolve the issue with the merchant you bought from.
Thus, Pinterest cannot offer you warranties, the right to return a product, etc.
Most of the times you can’t even write a negative review for that merchant on Pinterest, since Pinterest doesn’t allow reviews for merchants!
The only possible thing you could do is just write a negative comment on the merchant’s product pins.
You could also try contacting Pinterest, tell them the situation and hope they do something about. You can’t force them to, however.