Pinterest: The New Social Network Driving Traffic to Retail Stores

PinterestLaunched in March 2010, the relatively new social network Pinterest has reached 11 million visits in one week, according to Experian Hitwise, emerging among its top ten sites in the social media category. The social bookmarking site features online bulletin boards, or “pinboards” on topics of interest including arts and crafts, fashion, food, wedding, and home décor. Members use the “Pin It” tool to mark images they like that are added to their own online profile. Once an image is pinned, it can be “Re-pinned” by others to use on their pinboards, and shared on Facebook and Twitter. Clicking on the image will take users to the original source, such as the blog or retail store that provided the picture. Through this process, Pinterest has driven a significant amount of referral traffic to online retail stores, surpassing Google + last year.

Pinterest has gained momentum in the last few months with traffic increasing by over 400% between September and December 2011. The social media bookmarking site’s increasing popularity is especially prevalent among women (58% of members) aged 25 to 44 years old (59% of members). Pinterest is compared to Etsy for its central audience of arts and crafts lovers.

The visual bookmarking aspect allows retailers to promote a lifestyle that captures the essence of their brand. Whole Foods has done a great job of capturing their healthy lifestyle with Pinterest boards devoted to gardens, kitchens, cooking, recycling, and art projects. The Travel Channel Pinterest board is filled with beaches, bizarre foods, exotic animals, natural wonders, and trip ideas. Pinterest is the ideal tool for brands to create a visual representation. Companies can also run contests using the social networking site. Fashion merchandiser Lands’ End Canvas ran a contest asking users to pin 10 to 20 items on their retail store and submit their pinboard to enter to win.

The emergence of Pinterest gives retailers new opportunities in social media marketing to represent their brand in a creative manner and drive traffic to their stores.