Are Nordstrom and Pinterest Made for Each Other?

Discussion
Jul 09, 2013

Nordstrom is big on Pinterest, but will the social media site be big inside the chain’s department stores?

Back in March, Nordstrom began placing Pinterest’s "P" logo next to the most pinned products in two of its stores. More recently, Nordstrom expanded the test to 13 more stores around the country. It operates 248 in total.

"It’s our fastest growing social channel," Colin Johnson, a spokesperson for the chain, told The Huffington Post. "So we wanted to integrate the feedback that we’re getting from our Pinterest community."

Nordstrom has a big head start on its rivals on Pinterest. According to a Bloomberg Businessweek report, the department store chain has 4.5 million followers on the site. That compares to 47,000 for Macy’s, 44,000 for Barneys and 4,000 for Dillard’s.

Mr. Johnson told Businessweek that company executives use the site "to find out what’s exciting for our customers — and what’s inspiring them."

How would you rate Pinterest as a means for retailers to grow customer engagement? What do you think about Nordstrom’s use of the Pinterest “P” in designating the most pinned items sold in its stores?

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14 Comments on "Are Nordstrom and Pinterest Made for Each Other?"


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Ryan Mathews
Guest
8 years 10 months ago

I’m not sure that Pinterest is the future and therefore I might keep testing, but I wouldn’t over invest.

Odds are it will be the digital flavor of the month, so I’d back off the whole “P” thing until I was a little more clear as to where things are going.

Ed Dunn
Guest
8 years 10 months ago
I actually could not figure out the value in Piterest and gave up on it. But I’m very impressed with Nordstrom’s use of Pinterest and think this use of Piterest is the best use a retailer can implement. I seen fashionista bloggers and other fashion addicts create their own collection of images and pass around social networks. Nordstrom is pretty much tapping into information highway of this fashion fanatic subculture and creating a channel in their stores. There is massive opportunity here in different scenarios. Fashionistas use the pictures provided in this article to broadcast to their followers. Their fashionista followers go to Nordstrom stores with their mobile devices and see Pinterest items and take pictures of the product, creating more viral interest and reinforcement. In addition, Nordstrom gets real-time or quick metrics on what products are hot or not and can make adjustments to perceived demand or lack of demand. I probably would add that it would be valuable for Nordstrom to sign up/drive customers to their Pinterest page while on the sales floor… Read more »
Gordon Arnold
Guest
8 years 10 months ago

It just might be that Nordstrom may have stumbled into the most popular social media hangout for its customer base. Or maybe they found a place where the visitors wish they could be Nordstrom customers. Time and sales will tell….

Shep Hyken
Guest
8 years 10 months ago

Good for Nordstrom to be an early adopter of using Pinterest to showcase their merchandise. This is exactly what retailers should and will be doing with social media. It is very low cost exposure. The key is to make it more than just a catalog. What does the “customer” get from tracking Nordstrom’s merchandise on Pinterest? If it is blatant marketing—just another form of a catalog—it may not work long term. There has to be a compelling reason for the customer to want to spend time on Pinterst looking at Nordstrom’s pictures.

Camille P. Schuster, Ph.D.
Guest
8 years 10 months ago

There were articles about the huge growth of Pinterest, so many companies started using it. It is certainly worth investigating. Trying to use Pinterest is a good way to see if it is relevant to your consumers. However, as with any social media tool, it is necessary to measure the use and results to determine the impact on your business.

Tom Smith
Guest
Tom Smith
8 years 10 months ago

It’s a testament to Nordstrom’s capability, despite being one of the largest retailers, to react quickly and nimbly to trends. Yes, Pinterest is still in its ‘darling’ phase and engagement remains high but we are yet to see its longevity as a social platform.

Yet, what this does show is another evolution towards omnichannel retailing—where online social engagement is used as a tool to drive purchase in store. This is a definite trend to watch and it will be fascinating to see Nordstrom’s assessment of its success, especially because they will be able to gather very tangible data as to its impact on sales, footfall to its bricks and mortar stores, and engagement with the brand.

Kim Herrington
Guest
Kim Herrington
8 years 10 months ago

Pinterest can be a big driver for traffic for websites and create a lot of customer engagement, both on the platform and elsewhere. It’s important to know, however, that Pinterest works best with clear and concise photos that display the information behind the pin, be it an e-commerce site or a blog post with a recipe.

I wrote about how to make pinnable images and a step-by-step guide on the Haden Interactive blog today.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest
8 years 10 months ago

Pinterest: yeah, whatever…I wonder if it will even be around in 5 years…or months. But what I DO find interesting is the huge disparity between Nordstrom and Macy’s, which as we know has stores at every mall in the inner Solar System, and thus logically should have the larger user base (and to some extent the other competitors—JCP, Dillards, etc.—as well.). Seemingly someone knows something the others don’t, but whether Nordstrom has over promoted or the others under promoted, I don’t know.

Lee Kent
Guest
8 years 10 months ago

While I’m not sure of the longevity of Pinterest, I’m lovin’ that Nordstrom is using that type of crowd sourcing in-store.

We all know that shoppers love to get input from friends and family and even strangers, so how cool is it to show shoppers what others have ‘pinned’ the most?

Think of the mom, like my sister, whose daughter cares nothing about fashion. She is always trying to scout out what the other teens are wearing so her daughter will fit in. Now she can walk into Nordstrom and see what others are into. Easy peasy! Now I am assuming that Nordstrom is localizing their pins???

James Tenser
Guest
8 years 10 months ago

Nordstrom shoppers are fashion oriented. Pinterest is presently in fashion and its user-curated content is largely about fashion. Not too surprising that they have found a connection.

I suspect the in-store labeling technique will have a brief, bright life cycle until it is displaced by the next wave of shopper diversion. Nothing wrong with that. Nordstrom has the wit and wherewithal to take advantage of this opportunity while it lasts. Few other retailers have done as well.

Larry Negrich
Guest
8 years 10 months ago

Pinterest is a very inexpensive way to interact with potential shoppers and for some segments could be valuable. The overall Pinterest numbers are small compared with other social media tools so they may want to balance that against other options. As far as the P, for the small number of Pinterest users this could be interesting and for non-Pinterest users they may be intrigued…test it.

I’m not worried about Pinterest, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, etc. being around in 5 years—I’d be more worried about paper flyers being around in 5 years. In the interim, retail marketers should be trying to leverage the engagement qualities of each of these vehicles while they are useful.

Brian Numainville
Guest
8 years 10 months ago

While Pinterest—just like any other social media tool—may have a life cycle, it certainly doesn’t hurt to experiment with it given the relatively low cost. Makes them look progressive and “with it” versus caught in the tools of yesteryear.

Zel Bianco
Guest
8 years 10 months ago

Pinterest isn’t a tool for all retailers, but Nordstrom’s use of Pinterest is a great way for customer engagement and to get people involved in the brand and their products. Nordstrom, like other retailers such as Lowe’s with over 3.5 million followers, is able to have a vast following due to the use of paying attention to what customers want. The Pinterest “P” is just another way of recognizing what shoppers like and validating their ideas. Connecting pins with products actually seen in the store is a brilliant way to keep people invested. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some marketing promotions around the “P.”

Mike Osorio
Guest
Mike Osorio
8 years 10 months ago

Someone at Nordstrom is a very astute student of digital and mobile trends and has initiated a smart in-the-moment use of a hot social channel. What is really great is that the Nordstrom culture allows for such initiatives to happen at all. Most retailing executives would still be asking “What’s Pinterest?”

Good on Nordstrom for nurturing innovation in an industry largely bereft of it!

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