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Pinterest Is Becoming Shoppable: What You Need to Know

The pinning social media platform is finding new ways to connect consumers with products. Here's what its partnerships with Room & Board and West Elm mean for home furnishings and lighting retailers.

Alison Martin
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Pinterest X West Elm home page

Facebook and Instagram may get the bulk of attention from social media marketers, but Pinterest is about to give both platforms a run for their money. As Pinterest prepares for an IPO, the company has rolled out some new features on its site, and its advertising capabilities are growing. In fact, two home furnishings companies — Room & Board and West Elm — are already capitalizing on the platform's new features and capabilities.

See how these brands are winning on Pinterest and what your retail store can learn from them.

Room & Board

This month, Pinterest announced via blog that it would be expanding its shopping capabilities, allowing customers to Shop the Brand and advertisers to create Shopping Ads. What's more, companies can now upload their entire catalogs to Pinterest and create pins and ads from the images.

Room & Board was one of the first companies to test these new features and did they ever pay off. According to Mobile Marketer and Retail Dive, the company "saw a return on ad spend of 51 times from its Promoted Pins campaign and 33 times from its Shopping Ads campaign, exceeding its goals by 127% between February and June last year."

What retailers can do: If you don't advertise on Pinterest already, start looking into the platform's capabilities. Any customer looking to furnish a home or think about lighting will almost certainly turn to Pinterest first, so if you have an account and are active, you may have a great audience for your ads. Start testing out ads on the platform and see how it can help you attract new customers ready to buy.

West Elm

When consumers plan to decorate a room or move into a new space, they often turn to Pinterest to start putting ideas together in one place. Home furnishings retailer West Elm knows this and made it as easy as possible for potential clients to match their Pinterest boards with West Elm products.

The Pinterest X West Elm Style Finder turns "your inspiration into products you can actually shop." At www.pinterest-style-finder.westelm.com, customers can put in a link to a Pinterest board, choose a category and receive West Elm product decorations. Customers don't need to have a board filled with silo images either. The visual recognition technology will analyze the image and pull the best matches from West Elm's site.

What this means for retailers: There are ways to use Pinterest in your own showroom to connect with customers who have a hard time determining what styles they like. On your store's Pinterest account, create boards based on styles and products your showroom carries and pin images that fit on each one and look similar to what you carry in your store. When working with a customer in store, use a tablet to access your Pinterest account and let your customer search through different styles and assess what they like best. Once they've decided, your associate will have a better understanding of what the customer wants and how to help him or her.

Using visuals, rather than having customers describe what they like, will make the experience much more pleasant.


Retailers, tell us: How are you using Pinterest to grow your business? Share with us in the comments!


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