If you have started an e-commerce store, hopefully you have heard about using the Pinterest Verified Merchant Program for e-commerce stores.
Are you wondering what the buzz is about? Perhaps you’re wondering how to get that blue checkmark on the front end of your profile or have a catalog feed?
As an e-commerce shop seller or shop owner, you may ask how I can get more sales from this sales marketing channel?
These are really great questions, and I have the answer right here for you. In this post, I will walk you through what is a verified merchant on Pinterest. You will also learn:
So let’s dive right in and learn all about Pinterest’s Verified Merchant Program.
The verified merchant program (VMP) is basically where Pinterest puts their employee’s eyeballs on shops that apply to the program. Pinterest released this program to vet e-commerce sellers and give them more of a presence on the platform.
Their goal is to meet pinners where they are in their shopping journey with products of businesses pinning to the platform. They do this by having businesses like yours go through an application process to view your website and products to ensure that you are legitimate so they aren’t endorsing a poor store or product.
Pinterest will only verify that the stores that apply to be in the program are legitimate. They verify that these stores sell actual products, have actual shipping and return policies, and take care of their customers.
Since these stores are being vetted for Pinterest and giving you that little blue checkmark, they want to be sure that you are a real human selling real goods. They don’t want to put you in front of their pinners if you’re just a junk store.
The Verified Merchant Program comes with a lot of benefits, including:
The VMP program enables you to show up in the shop tab on the main explore feed when someone launches Pinterest. When I say show up on the explore feed, I don’t mean in that tab that says explore.
You will show up there with your catalog products as well. However, you will also show up in the little tab next to it, called the Shop.
If you’re a verified merchant, you also get a blue checkmark on the front of your profile, which indicates that Pinterest has vetted you and that they trust you to sell valuable products to their pinners and users.
You also get eligibility with distribution in the feed in the algorithm. So Pinterest will actually prefer you over others because you are verified. It’s the same as having a claimed domain and being preferred in distribution if you’re just marketing organically for an everyday Pinterest account user.
They will trust and distribute verified and validated accounts over those who are not. So that’s an excellent bonus.
The VMP program also provides the ability to show pricing and stock quantities listed on your items on your store on Pinterest.
So you have the Shop tab on Pinterest. Within the Shop tab or all of your catalog products, each product shows the price and availability. And then there’s a big blue button that says visit.
So those are many of the awesome benefits of being a verified merchant on Pinterest.
First things first, you have to meet their merchant guidelines (see their full requirements here). These include:
The next thing you have to do is make sure that your Pinterest tag is installed on your site and that you have a validated legitimate catalog connected to Pinterest.
Once you have done all of those things, you can then apply to become a verified merchant on Pinterest. Often, you may apply and then completely forget that you applied. Later, you hear back that you have been accepted or denied. Since the application process may take a while, you must keep a tab on the process right inside your business hub on Pinterest.
If you have a catalog connected, it will say right across the top “Verified Merchant Status in Progress”, or it will say “Approved” or “Rejected”. So make sure you are keeping an eye on the progress of your application in your business hub.
I often get this question about the verified merchant program, and the answer is YES. I also get the opposite of this question…
The answer to this question is NO. If you simply want to connect your catalog to Pinterest, but you don’t want to actually apply to become a verified merchant, you don’t have to. You can simply connect your catalog and be on your way.
Pinterest has automatically given the verified merchant status to some people in the past, including some of my clients, when they connected their catalog. This happened when Pinterest was really ramping up this program, and they were trying to get more awareness around it.
Pinterest didn’t have to do a lot of digging or send the application back and ask for corrections for people who had everything in line. They just automatically got it, and that’s fantastic.
So if you do notice something similar, it is because you have your business ducks in a row, and you are an A+ student. If so, just take it and run with it. I promise it will be good for you in the long run.
People with e-commerce stores can join the VMP program. It doesn’t matter if you sell physical or digital. Our roster has several clients that only sell digital, and they are still verified merchants. So you need to have some kind of e-commerce store.
It doesn’t matter as long as you have a storefront online that you showcase and sell your products inside of. As long as you can create a catalog connected to Pinterest and apply, you have an opportunity to become a verified merchant.
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In the merchant guidelines, Pinterest lists types of products and services that they don’t allow. For example, they don’t allow resale shops to sell as a verified merchant on Pinterest. They also don’t allow any contraband-type items to be sold (alcohol, guns, fireworks, etc.).
Any services that may be provided, like dental services for example, don’t actually qualify. You need to be sending purchased products through email or shipping through the mail after purchase.
Some examples of digital e-commerce sellers that I have represented on Pinterest include template sellers, like Canva-type template, for example. I have blueprint sellers that sell actual digital blueprints that people can take to places like Office Depot and have them printed on those big printers and give to their architect.
We have also had physical product sellers like people who sell animal products, food, and jewelry. Right now we have three jewelry sellers in our roster who are verified merchants, and they all do really well on Pinterest with this feature.
Here’s the list of countries where you can apply for VMP:
I have this YouTube video that will walk you through how to make your Shopify store connection. That’s by far the simplest way to actually connect your catalog to Pinterest and then apply for the Verified Merchant Program.
If you’re not on Shopify and have a different storefront, then there are tools available for you as well. The next most common one is through WooCommerce, and they have a plug-in that will also be listed in the resources that you can use to ingest your catalog and set up your Pinterest Tag.
That is a WooCommerce plugin built by Preemerce. That’s the best version of it. WooCommerce also offers a very basic bare-bones version of this plugin as well.
If you are through Wix, SquareSpace, BigCommerce, you will probably need to use some sort of a catalog feed tool to create your catalog to ingest that over to Pinterest, and that’s how you’ll connect your catalog. There are tools available for you both free, both paid, high-end, low-end, and everything in between.
If you apply and get rejected, you have to wait 30 days to reapply. In that 30 days, Pinterest is going to assume that you are implementing the changes they asked you to make. They’re going to send you some randomly generated email response that says:
If you are doing any of these things, they will cause you to get rejected. Make some tweaks and come back after a month.
Are stock photos being used in your imagery? You need to try and use high-quality images that you designed or taken yourself, whether they are mockups or not.
The Canva seller I was representing for a while created their own imagery for their products, which helped them get approved.
The next reason for being rejected is not having a shipping or return policy on the footer of your website. This cannot be hidden or buried. It has to be in the footer of the website where it’s easily visible and found by any everyday shopper on your site.
You need to have a policy for shipping, and you need to have a policy for returns. If you are a digital seller and don’t accept returns, you need to state that in your return policy.
If you’re a digital seller and don’t ship anything, you need to clearly state that in your shipping policy. It can be as simple as “All goods and services sold on this site are digital, and you will not receive anything in the mail.”
Be sure to also then tell them how to contact you if they have a problem with their order.
Another common reason for rejection is if your products always appear to be on sale. If you are running a sale on your site when you apply for the verified merchant, you need to have some verbiage of when your sale will end.
Have a banner at the top that says something like ‘sale through this date’. You can also have banners on your individual products that say that the ‘sale ends on this date’.
It cannot look like your products are always on sale, or you will not be approved. It’s tacky.
Another mysterious reason people get rejected is that they’re not setting clear guidelines or telling people what they can expect with the product in their copy. These include things like:
You need to give your buyers a complete picture of the product you are selling so that they can decide whether to purchase your product. So make sure you’re laying out all of that information about sizing, expectations with the product, where it might be made, and what materials it’s made with.
If all of that information is clearly valuable to the buyer it will also help benefit your verified merchant application.
If you get rejected and are confused about why you were rejected, you can appeal it. However, you may not get an email back from a real person until after a couple of tries. If you do have an Ads Manager with Pinterest, that’s actually the best way to get in contact with the verified merchant team and get around the generic helpdesk.
So, reach out to your Ads Manager if you have one and you’re looking to apply to the VMP, or if you’re having issues. If you don’t have one, you can reach out via a help ticket and ask to be assigned to an Ads Manager.
I hope that this answered all of your questions about the Verified Merchant Program. If you’re an e-commerce shop seller and you’re looking for more Pinterest marketing tips, be sure to head on over to our e-commerce Pinterest marketing strategy playlist, and I will see you right back here next time.
Heather went to school for accounting and worked for years in banking and finance. After finding all of that entirely too boring she started her first blog in her basement in August of 2016. She has started 3 blogs in the marketing, motherhood and travel niches and used Pinterest to grow them all. She quickly became the go-to Pinterest strategist in her peer circles and has been implementing strategies, driving traffic and sales through organic and paid tactics for her clients. On this blog and her YouTube channel she educates the public about clear and transparent marketing strategies to help them to grow on Pinterest and in other places online.