Staying Ahead of the Pack on Pinterest

by Sean Ogino |

Staying Ahead of the Pack on Pinterest

Love something? If you’re an upper middle class mom then you just may have pinned it. For those not familiar with the image-based, woman-friendly social space called Pinterest, it’s essentially a virtual pin board where users (and businesses) can save and share their favorite things.

The demographic is young, with slightly more 18-29 year old users than those in the 30-49 age bracket; female, with 33% of women pinning according to a Pew Research Center Internet & American Life Project survey; and well off, with there being a definite correlation between higher income and increased likelihood of Pinterest membership.

Beyond Pinning: The Strategy
Pay close attention to that last fact because this emerging social site is showing a big ROI in mobile/online shopping for the brands using it to its full potential. One such brand is Nordstrom, which has made a huge effort to stay ahead of the curve by using Pinterest in ways few other retailers have.


While many retail brands have updated their websites to include Pin It buttons on product pages and maintain a branded account, Nordstrom took it to the next level by creating an in-store app for salespeople to match up popular pins with actual in-store inventory. In some locations, only products with the most pins make it into store displays and these items are given social status with Popular on Pinterest labels.

Pinterest Is Courting Brands
Brands aren’t the only ones doing the work here. Pinterest itself is taking steps to be as brand-friendly as possible, with features like rich pins that let brands include purchase-friendly information like pricing, stock availability and Buy This links when they’re the ones doing the pinning – that data is carried over when users repin.

The freshly updated Gifts category includes user-facing options like price sorting. The newly revamped mobile site will no doubt attract those women accustomed to doing everything from shopping to socializing on smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. And last year, the creators of the site launched a sale notification feature that tells users when the products they pin go on sale.

The amount of people who access Pinterest via a mobile device is only increasing. With wireless service providers such as T-Mobile offering no-contract, affordable monthly plans and free 4G LTE data, more people now have access to mobile devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S5, iPhone 5s and a myriad of tablets.

Big Strategies for Smaller Brands
Pinterest is clearly evolving into a complete online shopping experience and in-depth conversation between brands and customers, but not every brand is Nordstrom. When creating a custom app to take advantage of Pinterest’s features isn’t in your budget you can still adapt big brand strategies to work for you. Here are four emerging ways you can use Pinterest not only to attract fans, but also to drive sales:

1. Take Nordstrom’s lead and debut new products, services and collections on Pinterest – sneak peeks make customers feel like they’re getting access to something exclusive and Pinterest-only launches will give them a reason to follow your boards.

2. Create boards for newly listed items and services, what’s deeply discounted, your best sellers and gift guides created in-house. Remember, Pinterest is a place for people to find ideas – make it your job to create those ideas.

3. Contests can help link your brand to Pinterest and attract potential customers to your retail site through repins. Take a page from the Forever 21 playbook and reward people for creating branded boards featuring items from your website. Don’t forget to give entrants the option to sign up for your newsletter.

4. Track ROI with the free Pinterest analytics tool. You might not have Nordstrom’s budget but you can still max out customer conversions by keeping an eye on what content is actually driving people back to your site so you can feature it in upcoming promotions.

Right now you might be thinking: Really? Another social network to keep track of? If your target demographic is anything like Pinterest’s, the answer is clearly yes. Pinners are shoppers, and putting yourself in front of people who are excited to buy is never a bad thing.


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