One of the hottest emerging social media websites gaining momentum in 2012 is Pinterest, a social bookmarking site where members collect photos and link to products they love, creating their own pinboards and following the pinboards of other people whom they find interesting.

According to the e-commerce marketing tracking firm, Hitwise, Pinterest has a demographic base of 58 to 70 percent women, averaging between the ages of 25 and 44 and is already attracting more than 11 million online visitors a week.

 

 


Pinterest In Action



 

So how does it work

Users of Pinterest create their own Pinterest boards to “pin” or post, a variety of their favorite pictures of products they enjoy using, or videos of themselves or others using these products.  The most appealing pictures to consumers are those related to lifestyle since consumers want to see how the product will benefit them. There is no limit to the amount of boards that can be created. These postings can further be categorized for the ease of searches by other potential Pinterest users. All postings are made public.

What This Means For You as a Retailer

As a retailer it’s easy to see how these ‘pins’ have the potential to drive traffic to a website through the link attached to each post.  Additionally, like many other websites, Pinterest  ties directly to other social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter meaning that these links can easily spread through the social graph, potentially reaching new audiences. Below you’ll find a couple quick tips to get you started on this exciting new platform.

  • Create Your Own Branded Pinboard

    Nothing stops an online retailer from adding their own pin boards with links to items on their website. Of course you probably would want to sprinkle in images from elsewhere on the web that compliment the lifestyle your brand represents, but this is probably the quickest and easiest way to establish a presence on the site.

  • Consider Investing in Compelling Product Imagery On-site

    Since Pinterest is primarily a visual medium you’re only as good your photos. Some online retailers that have previously invested in high quality images of its merchandise on their websites have reported receiving increased traffic from Pinterest users without an active presence on the network.

  • Use Contests Encourage Your Customers to become Virtual Evangelists

    If you have a brand that is already engaged with your customer base through Twitter, Facebook or other channels encourage them to create their own create pinboards with your products in use with a contest. Nothing is more compelling to potential customers than seeing a product being used and loved in the real world. The positive associations with your brand or product will easily offset the cost of the gift certificate or bounty you offer as an incentive for participation in the contest.

  • Find and Engage with Existing Pinterest Board Owners

    Pinboards on Pinterest typically are themed around a lifestyle or topic. As an retailer it might make sense for you to find boards that complement your brand or product and engage them in a meaningful dialogue through commenting on their actual boards or reaching out to them via twitter. Maybe they’ll link to one of your products, maybe not, but the information gleaned from these conversations can go a long way to helping to hone your marketing messages in the future.

With Pinterest rapidly becoming the premier website where consumers come to share positive experiences with products, brands, or services they identify with, it should interesting to see how both the company and users evolve to take advantage of this exciting new platform.

About the AuthorNii is COO of CPC Strategy, a shopping feed management agency and is responsible for day-to-day business operations and long-term financial, tactical and strategic planning for the company. He has been with CPC Strategy since January of 2007. Prior to working with CPC Strategy, Nii was a product manager at eBay working on algorithmic merchandising and reviews and guides. See all posts by this author here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=512616924 Rick Backus

    Unlike Twitter & Facebook, it’s easy to see how Pinterest can be a direct sales channel for retailers. Pinterest boards are the equivalent of wish lists for shoppers and it’s already gained a ton of traction in women’s accessories and apparel – http://pinterest.com/gianni039/shoes-are-girl-s-best-friend/.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1134296118 William Parris

      you guys got invites to send out? i signed up, but have yet to receive one

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=512616924 Rick Backus

      @[1134296118:2048:William Parris] Just sent you an invite.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1134296118 William Parris

      @[512616924:2048:Rick Backus] – grazie

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=24602439 Monique Pouget

    Sweet post! No doubt that Pinterest is becoming a major player in the shopping market. Another Pinterest tip I picked up a few months ago was to see what types of content people are sharing from your blog or competitor sites with this link: http://pinterest.com/source/cpcstrategy.com/.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=512616924 Rick Backus

      Whoa that’s really cool. I could see that being an awesome resource for trying to figure out the types of visual content that is resonating with your audience. Thanks for the tip Monique!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1200529 Nii A. Ahene

      Wow, I didn’t know about this either, great tip!

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=11711829 Anoui Means

    Great article!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=180462072024973 Partyfabrics.com

    Pinterest is ideally suited for “ideation”: getting our customer’s creative juices flowing. One of the advantages we’ve found with our Pinterest boards is the ability to curate our content in so many new ways (much more flexible than our shopping cart categorization). For example, we can merchandise fabrics for decorating Spring weddings vs. Fall Weddings, combining styles, colors, weights, etc.