Pinspiration from 10 brands dominating with Pinterest ecommerce marketing

Pinterest Ecommerce Marketing is the social media gift that keeps on giving.

Your Facebook posts are only alive for a few hours before they are banished to the internet ghost town populated by long-lost MySpace accounts and the second page onwards of Google search results. You need to keep pushing that upload button if you want fresh engagement.

Facebook_frequency_posting.gif

Tweets are like marketing fireworks. Mostly - they're sort of underwhelming. Sometimes they can be spectacular. And there's always a risk something might go horribly, catastrophically wrong. Regardless, they've been and gone within a matter of minutes.

Twitter_Management.gif

The cool ecommerce kids find online love with their 'grammin'. For those lucky enough to dominate a sexy industry with a drop-dead gorgeous product, Instagram can help you spread like wildfire.

For most, your meticulously curated images might catch fire for a day or two, before joing their Facebook brothers (and the new Instagram logo) in the internet's friendless boon docks.

Instagram_fail.gif

Your Pinterest posts are survivors. Slow burners. They stick around through thick and thin, surging strongly in the months after your posts, tweets, and grams have fizzled into obscurity.

Time spent promoting Pinterest content pays off in the long term (50 percent of visits happen after 3.5 months of first Pinning according to a recent Piqora study).   

You ecommerce folk know how critical it is to use time wisely. 

Pinterest will help you passively build exposure online, using content you’ve already created. One initial effort can bring you new customers for days, weeks, years to come. 

There are plenty of amazing ecommerce businesses using the platform in a number of different ways to attract and delight their audience into a pinning frenzy.

Pinterest_has_an_obsessive_audience.gif

We’ve found the best ten, and dissected their approach to tease out what your ecommerce business can learn from these brands.

Short On Time? Your Skim-Read Summary: 

Too busy to read the whole thing? We get it: logistics, synergies, KPI's - all that stuff. Here's the skim read version. You really should read the whole article though...

You can click on the dot point that takes your fancy and head straight to the relevant section.

There are four different ways you can make Pinterest work for your business, and I’m about to outline them all, including 10 practical examples from online retailers using Pinterest to meet, greet and keep new customers. 

Four ways to succeed with ecommerce Pinterest marketing 

#1. Use Pinterest to help future customers discover your brand

We all know how tough it is to get your brand out there, get the money flowing in and finding new customers.

Pinterest offers you the chance to share your content visually, without wasting time and money. The more people who see your content - the more people exposed to your brand. 

#2. Use Pinterest to educate and add value for your customers

Pinterest is more than pretty pictures of weddings and #kitcheninspo.  Pinners often use the site to learn valuable DIY tips, and how-to tutorials. 

If your business is the one delivering the info pinners want, you have the opportunity to promote your brand in a useful and relevant way.

Your content helpfulness can establish awareness, trust, and loyalty over time. Instead of using Pinterest to sell, you can use it to add value for your customers. More repeat sales will follow if you succeed this approach.

#3. Use Pinterest to supplement your ecommerce marketing strategy

It seems simple. 

Use a social media platform to help boost your current marketing strategy. 

But there’s more to it. 

I’ll explain how a couple of amazing businesses have successfully integrated Pinterest into their current marketing strategy to help boost online and bricks and mortar sales. 

#4. Use Pinterest as a genuine business investment

Pinterest offers the opportunity to understand what your customers want.

Your marketing strategy can be redirected to reflect the popularity of products pinned on Pinterest. You can use the platform as a soundboard to determine what is resonating with your audience.  

Your audience is your biggest asset, make use of them. 

Getting to that place takes time. 

And time is money. 

But considering the benefits, investing time is worth it, when there’s a chance of making good money. 

And making good money is what profitable ecommerce is all about. 

Now let’s get into the nitty gritty.

Here’s how ten businesses are using Pinterest to achieve success in online retail. 

#1. How to use Pinterest to help future customers discover your brand

Etsy

Etsy_Pinterest_Marketing.jpg

If you’re using Pinterest recreationally, statistics suggest you are most likely to be a woman of between 25-35 years old. 

And ecommerce businesses are jumping on board to get with these customers. 

Take Etsy, for example. 

Their business is focused on creating a hipster market vibe in the online space. 

And they’re making a killing from it. 

Alison Feldman, editor in chief of Etsy says: 

“Our goal is inspiration—not just sales. We showcase Etsy’s values to drive loyalty and engagement, and we post things that resonate with our community.” 

Discovering handmade and vintage wares are all built into the bones of Etsy’s value proposition, and Pinterest is one of the most effective ways to deliver. 

Etsy_Finds.jpg

The sheer variety of products sold on Etsy’s retail store means that they literally have something for everyone in their target audience. 

Including a giant carrot body pillow.

Giant_Carrot_Pillow_Etsy.jpg

Told you there was something for everyone. 

And when you have something for everyone, there’s no excuse for low sales. 

One of Etsy’s boards DIY Projects has over 1.5 thousand pins, and plays into the running theme of Etsy’s Pinterest account: 

Inspiration.

DIY_Projects_ETSY_Pinterest.jpg

If your audience can relate to your content and develop a relationship with your brand, chances are you will be thanked with some sneaky sales. 

You can develop a brand that screams ‘LOVE ME!’ by creating Pinterest boards that your audience will relate to. If your branding is funky, cool and inspirational - constructing boards that reflect these ideas will only help to solidify your branding. 

Unlike Facebook - Pinterest keeps your pins actively surfacing forever. 

This means your brand continues to develop and solidify over time, for your loyal followers to see. 

Peg Fitzpatrick, co-author of Art of Social Media has five reasons why your business should be using Pinterest: 

You can build a solid social media presence on Pinterest by creating a portfolio of Pinterest boards that:

  • Share who you are
  • Build your expertise
  • Connect with others that share your passions
  • Entertain
  • Inspire

When your audience discovers your brand on Pinterest you’re telling them that you value what they value, you love what they love and you have something that will make their lives better for owning it. 

Etsy gives you a few simple and actionable Pinterest lessons to help your business harvest an online audience of potential customers: 

  • Use analytics to inform your content sharing strategy
  • Add the Pin It Button so it’s easy for people to add Pins from your website
  • Add Pins that authentically showcase your brand

The Grommet 

The_Grommet_Pinterest_Marketing.jpg

Sometimes a little bit of help goes a long way. 

When you’re the David to Walmart’s Goliath, you gotta think smart. 

For The Grommet, thinking smart had to involve using Pinterest. 

The Grommet is an ecommerce retailer who specialises in promoting new and awesome products. 

Whether it be innovative and life changing products;

The_Grommet_Lifestraw.jpg

Or an awesome party trick;

The_Grommet_edible_candles_pinterest.jpg

The Grommet has it all. 

Including wild success. 

When it came to the success of The Grommet, help came in the form of Promoted Pins. 

Maggie Schulz, digital marketing manager at The Grommet says: 

“Promoted Pins have become much more than a discovery tool for The Grommet, Pinterest has become our most promising new source of customer acquisition.” 

Pinterest conducted a case study on the success seen at The Grommet, finding in just 9 months of using Promoted Pins, referred revenue grew by 1233% and traffic increased by 336%. 

The Grommet and Pinterest share a philosophy in discovering new ideas and sharing them with others. 

For The Grommet, Pinterest has been a business saver. You can use the platform for the same purpose - to help a new audience discover your brand’s belief and products – and to help you develop a better informed content strategy to meet, please and convert your target audience. 

#2. How to use Pinterest to educate and add value for your customers

Topshop

The_Topshop_Pinterest_Marketing.jpg

Topshop is the cool kid we all wanted to be. 

Youthful, fun, well dressed. 

And much better looking online. 

The Topshop cool kid persona is hangin’ out on Pinterest. 

And dammit we want to be them. 

It’s not just their well-organised Pinterest boards that make us envious.

It’s this. 

Since Pinterest has allowed developers to access users’ personal profile info, Topshop has developed an innovative way to help pinners discover their products, as Venture Beat explains

Using your audience’s data doesn’t have to be creepy. 

It can be genuinely useful. 

Topshop’s use of a profile colour scanning tool retains their cool kid status and engages their audience on a more personal level. 

Take advantage of Pinterest’s developer platform. You can start to develop unique, inventive ways to encourage more pinners to find and follow your content. You can take a look at Pinterest’s certified development partners right now

There’s a collection of already-developed tools you can take advantage of right now. 

Guided Search is one handy Pinterest feature to master: 

And buyable pins will help notch up sales for certain retailers with visual, low commitment products. 

If you really have your Pinterest game strong and firing – you might want to start boosting the reach and engagement of your posts with promoted pins

Whatever you do tactically – just make sure you have a mechanism to bring your pinners back to your website to grab their email, and nurture the relationship for free on your own terms. 

Williams-Sonoma 

Williams_Sonoma_Pinterest_Marketing.jpg

When I see the Williams-Sonoma Pinterest page… 

Williams_Sonoma_Customers.gif

It’s not because of their amazing products. 

W.S. use their online store for sales. 

My enchantment is a love for their helpfulness. 

You can see yourself cooking recipes from their Pinterest page. 

Using their products is not what excites you – it’s just the result of some delectable content marketing

Williams-Sonoma’s Pinterest page is cross promotion at its finest. 

Williams_Sonoma_Health_Brand_Message

First, the Williams-Sonoma target audience falls in love with the brand’s beliefs. 

You become inspired, eager to live the healthier WS lifestyle. 

You’ll cook kale! 

You’ll drink more water! 

You’ll cut out pasta! 

Next thing you know you’re checking out of Williams-Sonoma’s online store with a veggie spiralizer. 

Well played Williams-Sonoma, well played. 

Williams_Sonoma_marketing.gif

Pinterest is not about the sale for WS; it’s about feeding into the culture of entertaining, cooking fresh food and living a healthy lifestyle. 

Williams-Sonoma use their Pinterest posts to show their audience the type of person they think will appreciate their brand. 

And you want to be that type of person. 

So you buy their products. 

Easy. The system works. 

No hard sell, no gluttonous servings of advertisements, no promotional messages being shoved down your throat. 

It’s subtle. 

And it works. 

Pinterest is one of the best platforms to help communicate your brand’s beliefs. If you know the culture you want your business to be a part of – Pinterest is a good way to visualise it.   

Lowe's

Lowes_Pinterest_Marketing.jpg

Who knew home improvement could make a killing on Pinterest? 

65 Pinterest Boards. 5.5 thousand Pins. 3.4 million followers. 

Lowe’s home improvement is dominating the supposedly ‘female-centric’ platform. 

They’re appealing to the DIY’ers, the gardeners and the dreamers of the online world. 

According to Robert J Moore from RJ Metrics, the top five Pinterest categories are: 

  • Food and Drink
  • DIY and Crafts
  • Home Décor
  • Holidays and Events
  • Hair and Beauty 

Lowe’s Pinterest boards have all five of these covered. 

If your business can create beautiful visual content using some of these categories, your audience will grow and flourish on the platform. 

This idea may sound easier said than done, but Mel Megginson writing for Tailwind blog has 11 Pinterest hacks to help you on your way to dominating Pinterest. 

#1. Focus on your Pinterest SEO

#2. Reuse viral content from other platforms

#3. Embed your boards on your blogs or website

#4. Speak to the dream

#5. Give ‘em what they want

#6. Steal from the competition

#7. Connect with your influencers

#8. Cross-promote your content to help expand your reach

#9. Run a contest

#10. Pin regularly, and around the clock

#11. Include your pins in a newsletter

Lowe’s stands by these hacks to ensure their content is on point day in, day out.

Cross promoting content also proves rewarding for Lowe’s. Their team repurpose their Vine account’s content on Pinterest to leave any DIY fiend wanting more.  

An effective content marketing program demands development of content that can serve a range of different platforms - saving your business time and resources in the long term.

West Elm

West_Elm_Pinterest_Marketing.jpg

West Elm are the Urban Outfitters of home décor.

They use Pinterest not to sell or promote, but to spread the love of good furniture and easy living.

It’s clean, inspiring, and oh-so-simple.

West Elm is one of a collection of brands setting a Pinterest marketing trend.

The trend is easy to follow. Anyone can do it.

Stop marketing your products.

Just stop it.

West Elm keeps its Pinterest marketing subtle and elegant.

Instead of marketing chairs, rugs and lamps – West Elm is promoting the lifestyle (and living room) their audience dreams about living.

Market the concept. Promote the lifestyle. Communicate the beliefs your brand shares with your audience.

Your Pinterest page doesn’t have to make sales. Instead, you can establish awareness, authority, trust and brand loyalty without getting all greasy and promotional.

Cash in those intangible marketing assets for dollars when your infatuated pinners click through to your online store.

#3. Use Pinterest to supplement your ecommerce marketing strategy

Nordstrom

Nordstrom_Pinterest_Marketing.jpg

Nordstrom are pretty good at this ecommerce stuff. 

You could do worse than shamelessly copy their entire strategy. 

Don’t just take our word for it. 

Nordstrom have just joined Amazon, Etsy, Nike and Wayfair as the final nominees for Internet Retailer’s 2016 Internet Retailer of the Year Award. 

That’s some illustrious company to be keeping. 

Nordstrom’s pinning prowess is expectedly clever. 

These department store progressives know the importance of showing your audience that you care. 

If you pay attention to your pinner’s activity, you’ll be rewarded with engagement, brand brownie points and more followers. 

Nordstrom_Top_Pins.jpg

Nordstrom links their bricks and mortar experience with their Pinterest activity by displaying the most pinned products in store. This provides social proof for in-store shoppers and prompts those browsing to engage on Pinterest, and extend their relationship with Nordstrom past their visit. 

Nordstrom also places a red P symbol near ‘Top Pinned’ items from their website and Pinterest account. 

Nordstrom reward their followers on their brand Pinterest boards with exclusive product releases – and the resultant activity is used to test the commercial viability and potential popularity of these products online and in-store.

Nordstrom’s social media manager Bryan Galipeau, outlines the brand's philosphy in this Pinterest Case Study

"Every day, our customers are actively Pinning, saving and sharing the products they find most relevant in their lives. We believe our customers are telling us, through their pins, which items are the most relevant and exciting. Our goal is to share these products with likeminded customers." 

Your business may not have the cult following 0f Nordstrom, but you can borrow and Pin their ideas.  

With 4.4 million users on Pinterest – Nordstrom’s investment on the platform seems to be paying off. 

Some may contend a social following is no predictor of genuine business results – and that’s a valid point. However – the introduction of Buyable Pins helped Nordstrom turn their 4.4 million followers into rolled gold revenue.

Nordstrom’s high levels of engagement, trust, and brand loyalty on Pinterest allow them to take advantage of social commerce on the platform. Without this you need to tread carefully. 

Alas, Nordstrom are watching the money roll in. 

Engaging your audience may seem daunting, but you can minimize your effort by listening, watching and analysing your target customers’ Pinterest activity to inform your content creation, and your broader marketing strategy. 

MADE

Made_Pinterest_Marketing.jpg

Ahhh sweet, sweet interior #inspo. 

Not only do these guys have 66 different boards appealing to (surely) everyone’s personal styles, they also invest in piggybacking off other established target audiences.

How?

Pinfluencers (influencers on Pinterest – it’s a real thing – they even have talent agents).

Made_Guest_Pinner_influencer_marketing.jpg

(Guest Pins on Made’s account)

Instead of paying for ads to promote your brand on Pinterest, why not collaborate with a ‘Pinfluencer’ who already has an existing audience you’d like to meet?

J. C. Penney's Director of Social Sean Ryan told The Wall St Journal:

"We often see twice the lift in engagement on a product when we use an influencer on Pinterest,"

Placing your brand’s messages in the hands of another may seem overwhelming, but the payoff is significant if both parties share the same core values.

When you introduce Pinfluencers to your boards - you get your own products featured, alongside other similar products.

You broaden the reach of your content without having to pay a small fortune on advertising.

This technique can work across multiple platforms, building your audience in chunks, rather than grafting away organically one-by-one.

#4. Use Pinterest as a genuine business investment 

Urban Outfitters

Urban_Outfitters_Pinterest_Marketing.jpg

Urban Outfitters get me.

And if they get me, they understand a sizable chunk of their 300,000+ followers too.

Urban Outfitters understands why people use Pinterest.

We use it for inspiration.

We use it for procrastination.

We use it for organising our chaotic hopes and dreams of the perfect life.

It’s not just inspiration that can be found on Urban Outfitter’s Pinterest page.

Say hello to Rich Pins.

 

Here’s a handy little explainer from Constant Contact:

These pins constantly update the price/availability of your product, even if you’ve pinned the item weeks ago.

If you’re an e-tailer selling aesthetically pleasing goods, your audience will appreciate an update on the products they’ve pinned to purchase.

Our advice: only offer buyable pins if your audience wants them.

If there’s no demand during your testing phase – don’t force it.

Pinterest is first and foremost a social platform. Pinners are conditioned to browse and research – not buy.

Sephora

Sephora_Pinterest_Marketing.jpg

“Let’s Beauty Together”

That’s the marketing mantra Sephora’s social media team tries to communicate.

Creating a complete marketing strategy that spans multiple platforms is no easy task.

But Sephora has one critical asset to make it happen:

Rich customer data.

Sephora’s success in the online space is due in no small part to gathering, decoding and understanding web analytics.

Johnna Marcus, director of digital business development at Sephora explains how valuable Pinterest is to the company: 

“Everybody knows how successful Pinterest has been — Sephora’s Pinterest shoppers are actually 15 percent more valuable than our Facebook leads.”

Sephora’s Pinterest analytics can help the marketing team twofold:

#1. The ROI of the brand’s Pinterest program is easier to determine when the brand compares the average value of a customer who is a Pinboard follower against those who are not. Average revenue levels can help determine the effectiveness of Pinterest in helping to attract and nurture customers - and increase lifetime customer value in the process. 

#2. Engagement statistics will help Sephora to monitor trending styles, colours and designs that are resonating with their target audience. Activity levels from specific pins can be used to inform the development of new products. Pinterest acts as a virtual survey tool – helping the brand test ideas for free in front of a microcosm of their target audience. 

An effective content marketing strategy uses different online platforms to weave a consistent message throughout the customer’s experience with the brand. No one platform should work in isolation. 

Email is the customer journey constant. Once your brand entices a subscriber to sign up – you have a chance to nurture your relationship with regular doses of helpful, valuable content. 

Promo EDM’s are just one small part of an integrated content marketing strategy. Email should be used as a conduit between website, blog, Pinterest and more – making it easy for the subscriber to pinball around your entire customer journey at their will. 

Sephora is a great example - with their Pinterest focused emails, driving their audience to engage with the brand on this platform. 

In the months following their first email campaign, Sephora saw a 60% growth in traffic from Pinterest. By adding another connection point for the subscriber, Sephora adds another brick in the foundation of the customer’s relationship with the brand. 

The email is not designed to sell – just to add more value to the customer’s experience. That strengthened relationship pays in the long term, when pinners subsequently click through to the online store after seeing something they love on a Sephora board. 

If your business looks like this; 

Pinterest_Fail.gif

Instead of this,

giphy_7.gif

You might need to readdress your content marketing strategy and work out how you can strengthen your customer relationships using all of the content experiences your brand has at its disposal. 

Without the marketing guff – the action is simple: 

If you’re already using Pinterest, check out Pinterest analytics to understand what your audience is loving, and tailor your content to suit. 

Find a way to build a Pinterest subscription call-to-action into your email marketing program to maximise your following and nurture your relationship with existing customers. 

It’s a simple way to increase your average customer lifetime value. 

Subscribe for the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram instalments of our ecommerce social media series

If you’re already creating beautiful visual content – there’s a good chance you’ll find an interested audience waiting for you on Pinterest.

Take a peep if you haven’t already.

You’ve seen 10 innovative, successful ecommerce brands killing it on Pinterest, in a few different ways. Not all are big budget, multi-national monoliths. As long as you have a target audience using the platform, you can establish and nurture a relationship with new customers with relatively minimal effort.

If you’d like to hear more about how to effectively market your e-commerce business on multiple social media platforms, subscribe to our Weekly Ecommerce Jungle Gym Update.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be profiling the best ecommerce brand examples across a number of different social platforms.

You’ll need to subscribe to learn how to use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to meet, greet and keep more customers online.

Just hit that big grey button below, throw in your email, and keep an eye on your inbox doorstep for your weekly package of ecommerce learning! 

 

Subscribe for ecommerce marketing wisdom straight to your inbox
Author

Melissa Newphry

Melissa is the most qualified online retail researcher in the business. Just ask her bank account. A fiend for online shopping, Melissa is a digital marketing professional with particular expertise in social media and online PR.
LinkedIn