E-Retailers Pin Their Attention on Pinterest

By Jennifer Knodler

As we’ve all discovered by now, Pinterest is the hottest new social sharing site boasting an enormous following as its popularity has increased exponentially in recent months. Exceeding 10 million unique visitors each month, Pinterest will likely take center stage as the future of e-commerce social media marketing efforts plays out.
After some observation and discussion with pinners of all ages, we credit its growth to a few specific things:

Visual Appeal – A strong visual network is created by pinning dream houses, bucket lists, outfits, inspirational images, quotations, the results of yummy recipes, and more. Pinterest has the visual appeal of a gigantic coffee table book - it’s easy to get caught up in the images contained and spend unexpected amounts of time engaged in this network.
Ease of Use
Pinterest lists some obvious categories such as “Food & Drink”, “My Life” and “Travel” and naturally, without instruction, educates users to participate in pinning and repining activities with simple icons. We “pin” something and it magically appears in both our stream and relevant “board” and becomes part of our collection. We can easily search for items or concepts of interest. We can browse the collections of those who inspire us. The architecture is easy.
Acknowledgement/Link to Source Library 
Since Pinterest preserves the link where the item originated and acknowledgement we have a library of where to buy or find the items we pin. Organized for us, but GOLD for e-retailers! What can be easier than user-generated links back to your site that are shared via social media and trend passively?

This combination of success points creates an ideal platform for retailers to generate attention and entice followers and fans.

Why is KLI taking note?
As our e-retail clients seek our suggestions for the improvement of their web and mobile experiences, we can look to the success of Pinterest for inspiration and as a tool; both serve us food for thought as they aim to stay current, or ahead, and find ways to increase conversion.

Specifically, our pinboard of noteworthy thoughts around Pinterest includes:
  • Organization Considerations: Pinboards are an obvious way for companies to take advantage of this social phenomenon. These pinboards can take one of two paths – retailers can opt to use pinboards to mimic the categories presented on their site, or instead they can utilize a new information architecture that might bundle products together to cross-sell. We’ve seen success in the later as consumers seek an alternative to traditional catalog shopping and respond more favorably to immersive visual storytelling that outlines how the products can fit their current lifestyle or the one they daydream about. Perhaps these categories could also be used for things like targeting a specific audience, maybe a bride, or identifying seasonal sale items, etc. Thinking beyond standard categorical organization is an area in which we’ve witnessed success.
  • Rich, Bold and Creative Imagery & Visualizations: We’ve seen the images that trend on Pinterest. They stray from the typical woman wearing a summer dress with a white background and instead show the detail of the neckline up close, or the woman giggling her way through an enchanted forest. Creative images, interesting perspectives, etc. first enrich your retail site, but also have the capacity to trend farther and wider on social media sites like Pinterest. KLI research has concluded that consumers respond to images that impress them or mirror themselves above all. Use the success of Pinterest as incentive to enhance your e-commerce imagery.
  • “Pin-It”: Add the pin-it button near your other social media icons. Now that people can link their Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest accounts, we’re seeing a trend in using Pinterest as a method of choice to announce to their community that they dig a particular product because they can comment, classify and tag it all from the Pinterest interface. E-retailers benefit because the original URL pins with the image, and to all the social networks linked. A single pin creates a ripple, or if your pinner is wildly socially connected, a wave – and it’s free for you.The added bonus: In a way, Pinterest behaves as a shopping cart. The pinner identifies to themselves that they have an interest in this product and rather than having to email it to themselves, bookmark it or simply remember it, they can see it and can revisit it easily when they review their carefully created boards.

  • Pay Attention: Overall, the best you can do is jump into this latest form of social webbing with two feet. Maybe you don’t “get it” or your stakeholders have some hesitation about “all this social media stuff” – but when KLI researchers recommend a Pin-It icon in a specific (often eyetracking supported) location on your site, there's no time to wait and see if it’s going to pay off. TAMBA, a UK based group of smarty pants digital strategists reported that Pinterest is projected to account for 40% of all social media driven purchases by the end of this quarter… that’s an amazingly quick catch up to Facebook. Further, buyers are 10% more likely to buy something and spend 10% more money if they’ve reached a product via a pin vs. alternative pathways in social media.

Pinterest is Here to Stay
Our current clients in the retail space agree that if they’re not already integrating Pinterest in their roadmap for future work, they’ve got some catching up to do because the return on investment is predicted to be fantastic.
 

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