When Pinterest and Instagram introduced click-to-buy features last summer, the hope was that they’d help brands turn mobile browsers into shoppers. After all, mobile represented just 16 percent of e-commerce dollars in 2015, compared to 84 percent on desktop, according to comScore.
But these buy buttons haven’t quite taken off as hoped. They generate very low sales volume to retailers and are negligible for most large brands, according to Sucharita Mulpuru, principal analyst for Forrester.
“Few retailers say that social networks are a great customer acquisition tool,” said Mulpuru. “There is so much content on Pinterest, Instagram and other discovery engines, so any individual piece of content gets very little visibility, and even less conversion.”
Users can only shop for a limited number of products on social media, and those platforms cannot store inventory for brands the same way Amazon does for retailers. When viewers click on an image, for example, they may find a dead link or a product that is not shoppable. “On Pinterest, the intersection between what people want to buy and what is available to buy is huge,” said Mulpuru. “The majority of most popular pins are not buyable.”