Retail Lessons from Pinterest

retail lessons from pinterest

18 Feb Retail Lessons from Pinterest

When Pinterest launched in 2010 they were an invite only social media site which quickly grew a lot of buzz. They are now valued at $5 billion.

At first glance, Pinterest is essentially a digital scrap-booking site. A place where users collect recipes and outfits they like. Where they plan for dream vacations and weddings. But with 70 million users, Pinterest is providing a note-worthy user experience, with lessons for other businesses. Pinterest is a social media site, not a retail location, but there are retail lessons to be gained from their tactics.

Keeping Customers in Your Store

Pinterest prioritizes keeping users on their site. Pinterest has announced that in 2015 they will add a “buy” button. The buy button will allow customers to purchase items without leaving the site. They also allow for iOS users to download apps through their App Store, where they feature curated boards like “Fashion Apps” and “Staff Picks”. Like Pinterest adding features to keep users on their site, Retailers need to make an effort to keep customers in their store.

There is a relationship between the amount of time a customer spends in a retail store, and their likelihood of making a purchase. According to Paco Underhill, in his book “Why We Buy“, customers who make a purchase spend three to four times as long in a store as those who do not make a purchase. It makes sense then, for retailers to try to keep customers in the store.

Applying this to Retail

Retailers need to make it as easy as possible for customers to complete a purchase before they leave. They can achieve this by offering price matching for customers who are shopping on a mobile device while looking at items in a store. They can also provide a way for customers who order items in a different size or color from what is available in the store, and have it shipped directly to them.

Using Technology to Delight Customers

The success of Pinterest comes from giving a tech makeover to an old concept. Pinterest takes the practice of cutting pictures out of magazines, and updates it for the web. Users create virtual “boards”, a well organized collection of curated items with helpful links.

Pinterest also appeals to the hunter/gather instinct of shoppers. A tool for window shoppers and those with purchase intention alike.  The ability to use Pinterest as a search engine appeals to users who are hunting for something specific. While the casual browser can gather pins by following their friends or looking at specific categories.

Applying this to Retail

Coming out the recession, retail store may have missed years of technology upgrades. We are now seeing a surge in retailers using technology to appeal to their customers. Time Warner Cable uses their Experience Stores to shed their former, DMV-like, image. Retailers are using ibeacons instead of signs to guide customers around their stores. They are trading in traditional mirrors for digital ones. Even fitting rooms are getting a high-tech makeover. The tech used must enhance the user experience in some way.

Is your retail location ready for a tech upgrade? Check out our portfolio for project inspiration.

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