Retailers get creative with Pinterest - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Retailers get creative with Pinterest

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NEW YORK - Target, Nordstrom and other big chains are pinning their hopes of attracting shoppers on social media.

Retailers increasingly are using Pinterest, a social media site that allows users to create collections of photos, articles, recipes, videos and other images that are called "pins," to draw business to their own sites.

Shoes, handbags and other popular items on Pinterest are being prominently displayed in Nordstrom stores with special tags. Target, the nation's No. 2 discounter, is creating exclusive party-planning collections with top Pinterest users, or "pinners." And Caribou created a coffee blend that was inspired by the coffee chain's Pinterest fans.

The interest in Pinterest comes as retailers increasingly realize the power of social media sites to steer business their way. They've found while smartphone-toting Americans are spending time opining and posting photos online, they also can be encouraged to spend money.

A report on Tuesday from software company Adobe found that year over year, revenue per visit, or revenue from sending users to retail sites through ads, social media pages or brand posts, is 65 cents at Pinterest, 62 cents at Twitter and $1.24 at Facebook.

Retailers have noticed shoppers' affinity for Pinterest. Caribou Coffee, which has about 3,500 Pinterest followers, last year asked fans to share what inspires them with the hashtag #caribouinspires. Then, it created a blend of coffee based on the submissions called "Real Inspiration." Home-improvement chain Lowe's, which has 3.5 million followers, users Pinterest to post project ideas using products from Lowe's on a Pinterest board called "The Finishing Touch."

And Nordstrom, which has 4.4 million followers, used data about top pinned items to create in-store displays. Executives have noticed certain items tend to go viral on the site, such as mason jars and a crochet swimsuit by Robin Piccone, which "seems to have a never ending shelf life" on Pinterest, says Bryan Galipeau, Nordstrom's social media manager.

"The unique thing about Pinterest from a retailer's perspective is it's really about the products," he says.

For its part, Target, which has 152,000 Pinterest followers, launched a beta web site in December called Target Awesome Shop that highlights the most popular Target items pinned on Pinterest. The site now offers 1,100 items, ranging from an inflatable movie screen to a tufted loveseat. Target doesn't disclose revenue but Rick Gomez, senior vice president of marketing, says Pinterest is a "strong social driver of traffic to Target.com."

At first Pinterest worked with retailers for free. But in recent months the site has tested services that would allow it to charge for such things as promoted pins, which would are similar to ads.

In the meantime, Pinterest has no steady revenue stream. But investors seem to have confidence in the privately-held company: Pinterest has raised enough from venture capitalists to value the company at $3.8 billion.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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