Pinterest: A Retailer’s Best Friend

Pinterest Women's Clothing

Last May, we wrote about the new kid on the block, Pinterest. A self-proclaimed “virtual pinboard,” Pinterest allows users to collect images, quotes, recipes, etc. from across the web and organize them onto their own “pinboards” which can be shared with other Pinterest users. Examples of common pinboard inspirations are Wedding boards, Food & Drink boards, Travel & Places boards, & Home decor boards.

Although Pinterest had shown promise back in May, there would have been no way to predict the type of success they have seen since. Having grown 84% in Unique Visitors since we last wrote about them and 50% from October to November alone, it seems that Pinterest has piqued the interest of more than a few.

uvs to pinterest

Having recently joined Pinterest myself, I was curious to see how Pinterest might play into the role of marketing. I noticed that a lot of my friends were posted clothing & material items they liked in almost a “wishlist” sort of way, so I was curious to see if this could double as a sort of targeted social advertising.

I decided to look at incoming and outgoing traffic to and from Pinterest.com to see how virtual pin boards might affect consumers.

incoming traffic to pinterest

While most of the Top 10 Referrals to Pinterest.com are among the top sites on the Internet, the more interesting data starts at #11. Etsy.com, Amazon.com, Craigslist.com and Ebay.com all bring at least .39% of all traffic to Pinterest.com – not to mention their growth in referrals this past November. Etsy.com increased its referrals to Pinterest.com by 7%, Ebay by 23%, and Amazon by 50%!

Looking further into the data, we see that Walmart, Toys R’ Us, Target, Zulily, Baby Center, Kohls, Houzz, JC Penney, Best Buy, and Zazzle are all within the Top 100 Referrals to Pinterest.com. What could this all mean? In the context of Pinterest, it would seem that users are inspired and excited by the products they see on these websites and want to add them to their visual collections and share them with friends. But once users leave retailers for Pinterest, are the retailers benefiting?

Well, one could argue that the impressions made on Pinterest users who view the shared item are enough value in themselves. Viewing a cute dress for a little girl on Zulily.com might inspire a Pinterest user to visit Zulily in the future or even make a purchase at a later date. But could there be any retail sales that start directly at Pinterest.com? I checked out outgoing traffic from Pinterest.com to get the scoop.

outgoing traffic from pinterest

As you can see, Etsy.com is the #6 destination from Pinterest.com, swiping 1.5% of all outgoing traffic. Amazon, Ebay, Craigslist, & Houzz are all in the Top 30 destinations users immediately visit after Pinterest.com. Target, Walmart, & Anthropologie are also among the Top 100 destinations from Pinterest.com. Interestingly enough, Anthropologie wasn’t among the Top 100 incoming destinations which means that the content from Anthropologie shared must be expectionally engaging with Pinterest users.

Are you on Pinterest? Have you ever been inspired to buy something after looking at a friend’s virtual pin board? If you are a retailer, or online marketer, what do you think the future holds for Pinterest in this context?

Leave your comments below!

About Jen Duguay:
Jen Duguay joins Compete to take on all things social media. She comes from a social issue background, most recently having worked for the Social Innovation Forum, the venture philanthropy arm of Root Cause, a nonprofit research and consulting firm. Jen's interests include singing, marketing, running, art, making guacemole, and using social entrepreneurship to tackle world issues. She has spent time in Belize and the Dominican Republic working on microfinance initiatives and recently traveled to Kenya where she studied the public healthcare system. Follow Jen @jenduguay on Twitter.