In this case study we will take a look at how the upscale retailer Nordstrom is using Pinterest to showcase their most popular products. In March of 2013 Nordstrom began experimenting with different ways to use social media to drive sales.

They decided to use Pinterest in their experiment by ‘pinning’ items from 13 of their stores. They even added a most pinned section to their website.

The Thought Process

Nordstorm wanted to try and set up a social media strategy that would help their customers. They were interested in finding a way to help customers find what they were interested in.

When it comes to items like dresses, women’s shoes and handbags, most women have a long wish list. So why not make their own wish list on Pinterest? If you think about it Pinterest is a wish list in itself. Users are ‘pinning’ their wishes, wants and desires each and every day.

The way this works is that Nordstrom integrated the data from Pinterest with the merchandise at their store. They focused on the dress, handbag and shoe departments.

Nordstrom is taking the most popular ‘pinned’ items from these categories and then showing users related products at their stores. They are also testing this method by using iPad displays in their store locations. They designate the most pinned products by using a red “P” logo.

This concept was first tested at two of their stores in the Seattle area, Bellevue Square and Alderwood Mall.

Why Nordstrom’s Campaign Worked

This campaign worked because Nordstrom took the time to find out what their customers wanted. They took to using Pinterest to see what items were being ‘pinned’ frequently.

It just makes sense that if thousands of people are pinning one pair of shoes, that they must be popular. In turn Nordstrom directed people to that specific item, or a similar one, in their store.

One of the most important rules in marketing is to give your audience what they want. Nordstrom took this and delivered!

In regards to social media it is important to track and acknowledge where your customers are coming from. Nordstrom knows that Pinterest is their best social media site. They currently have over 4.5 million followers, and this number is still growing. Take a look at the numbers of their competitors:

Macy’s 47,000
Barneys: 44,000
Kohl’s: 20,500
JCPenney: 13,200
Dillard’s: 4,000

Social media can be a powerful marketing and lead generation tool.

Since starting out with 13 test stores Nordstrom is now using this marketing method in 117 stores. Employees use an app that helps connect the most popular items on Pinterest to those in inventory. These items are displayed in their stores with a large red “P”.

This also allows Nordstrom to increase their inventory on certain products as well. If something is popular they don’t want to risk not having enough in supply for their customers.

How Can You Replicate This?

If you want to incorporate Pinterest into your marketing strategies then ensure that your business is suitable. Most ecommerce type businesses can use this social site effectively.

Here’s a quick overview of how you can accomplish this:

You want to highlight your products, just as Nordstrom did. The key here is to ‘pin’ images that are of the same quality as what you have to offer. Plus do not just create a quick image on a plain white background.

Nordstrom highlighted their products by using different backgrounds. They used photos from fashion shots, outdoor locations and ‘on location’ images. Make your images colorful and entertaining so that people will ‘repin’ them for you.

Ensure that you accentuate your products. If your ecommerce focuses on kitchen supplies and products. Include images of recipes and dishes that can be made from them. Repining food and recipe photos is extremely popular on Pinterest.

Your goal would be to gain people’s interest on how these foods were made and this would take them back to your website, with links to the actual kitchen tool used.

One thing many business owners forget is about pinning other people’s content. Sharing is showing that you care, and it shows that you are giving your followers glimpses of other items they might like. It doesn’t matter if the content isn’t related just get into the habit of sharing consistently.

Other  considerations include using themes on your boards and cross posting related items. Not every Pinterest user is going to follow every board. So if you cross post you may attract the attention of someone you wouldn’t have.

Remember too that you don’t just have to focus on using just one social media site. It is possible to share your images from Pinterest to your Facebook page and vice versa. Think about the best way to incorporate this into your marketing plan.

Nordstrom & Pinterest
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