Visitors to Pinterest, which is more of a “catalog of ideas” than a traditional social media platform, often rely on the site for visual inspiration, as well as to create a space for them to save convenient wish lists to direct their future purchases. In a 2015 survey, 70 percent of consumers reported using Pinterest to inspire their recent purchases.

Many savvy retailers thus have turned to Pinterest in an attempt to reach new, potential customers and increase sales. For example, FlyAway BlueJay allows users to buy items posted onto Pinterest without ever needing to leave the site. FlyAway BlueJay reported that Buyable Pins on the site drove 20 percent of its 2015 holiday sales and increased its website traffic by 28 percent. Furthermore, it acknowledged that that 100 percent of sales from Pinterest came from new customers.

Other retailers also use Pinterest’s Promoted Pins feature to target their advertisements to potentially interested customers. For the retailer Adore Me, Pinterest revenue increased an astounding 4000 percent, and its advertising resulted in a 50 percent higher click rate, when it used this Promoted Pins feature.

Even traditional retailers are realizing the potential sales and marketing opportunities that exist through Pinterest. Nordstrom has added “Top Pinned” signs to merchandise such as women’s shoes and handbags within its brick-and-mortar store locations, to bring the Pinterest experience offline and help customers identify trending items. Ann Taylor has also used Pinterest to showcase its brand history, creating Pinterest boards that feature the retailer’s retro looks, alongside new products based on these classic looks.

Discussion Questions: 

  1. Evaluate how retailers are using Pinterest.
  2. Create a Pinterest strategy for your favorite retailer.

Source: Klaudia Tirico, Retail Wire, October 19, 2016.