Why Bricks & Mortar Retailers Need Pinterest

Remember the good old days when store windows were a primary marketing vehicle and traffic driver? Store windows included mannequins, props, signage, visual imagery – all to create a lifestyle brand feel, and transport the shopper into the world of the that particular brand.  Barneys NY became particularly noted for their windows, and the holiday windows in major cities like New York were a tourist attraction (and still are, to some extent).  However, as the recession forced stores to cut costs and payroll, only flagship stores received all the trimmings of elaborate window displays. Other stores had to depend on visual banners and a few mannequins.

At the same time, mall traffic saw declines – even the last holiday season showed a 15% decline in shopper foot traffic. With fewer people at the mall and fewer elaborate displays or the store payroll to maintain them, store windows have become less important.

Enter Pinterest.  A few savvy retailers have figured out that Pinterest strategies can take the place of store windows (and catalogs, and even some traditional advertising). The best Pinterest boards create a lifestyle that is relevant to both the brand and its target shopper, and create the aspirational brand feel online.

Who’s doing this well?  By a wide margin, Nordstrom, with over 4.4 million Pinterest followers is winning in the fashion space. With 66 boards featuring product images, how-to’s, trends, wedding ideas and travel images, Nordstrom creates an aspirational, luxurious feel on all its boards that isn’t just about selling items but developing the brand.  And it’s not just fashion brands that have been able to build big followings – Lowe’s is another retailer that has taken advantage of the DIY and home-related interest in Pinterest boards to develop a following of over 3.5 million people.


Nordstrom’s Pinterest Board via Pinterest

While aspirational brands are usually thought of as most suited for Pinterest given their high quality images, it’s not just the higher end brands that are utilizing Pinterest boards to gain large followings – Forever 21, the fast fashion teen retailer, ranks higher than Tory Burch (see chart below).

But most major retail brands have not done enough to make Pinterest a key part of their marketing and brand strategies.  And if they don’t take advantage of Pinterest, they face a windowless future.

Want to know more about Pinterest strategies employed by major retailers including Nordstrom’s in-store Pinterest initiative? Contact us or leave a comment below.

Nordstrom 4.4 million followers
Lowe’s 3.3 million followers
Lululemon 1.9 million followers
Anthropologie 434,000 followers
Sephora 285,000 followers
Pottery Barn 222,000 followers
Kate Spade 185,000 followers
Victoria’s Secret 171,000 followers
Forever 21 144,000 followers
Urban Outfitters 129,000 followers
Tory Burch 120,000 followers
Neiman Marcus 90,000 followers
Williams Sonoma 89,000 followers
Macy’s 84,000 followers
Gap 68,000 followers
Kohl’s 45,000 followers
American Eagle 42,000 followers
Ralph Lauren 40,000 followers
JC Penney 33,000 followers
Aeropostale 32,000 followers
Express 18,000 followers
Ann Taylor 18,000 followers
Loft 16,000 followers
Banana Republic 15,000 followers

Note: As of 3/15/14. Methodology includes primary account followers. Does not include ancillary accounts.

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