an article I read this week casts doubt on the value of pinterest as a tool for retailers. the authors cite the service’s lack of a marketplace and “shopper community” features. I think they are looking through the wrong end of the funnel.
where does pinterest fit in the sales cycle?
pinterest is a hawker, not a closer or crm device.
smartbrief, inc. produces a number of newsletters providing digest versions of top trending stories in different marketing-related categories. a lot of good stuff, but sometimes they lay an egg. like today’s article “why retailers should question pinterest.”
most of smartbrief’s content is curated, so I’m not pointing at them necessarily. my issue is with the mediapost article they chose to highlight. the opening statement questions the value of pinterest for retailers. however, the article doesn’t present anything except factoids about pinterest popularity until the end.
lead generation versus marketplace
the first warning is that pinterest was “not conceived as a tool for retailers.” true, pinterest does not provide ecommerce functions. what it does offer is the chance to move viewers directly from discovery to transaction. especially for catalog retailers, this is a great chance to drive additional traffic. next, the authors point out the lack of engagement opportunities with the platform. what this point ignores is that pinterest is the top of the funnel for retailers. the christmas windows at lord & taylor don’t “help retailers create meaningful engagement” either, but they get people into the store, where those relationships _can_ be created and nurtured.
the article’s closing gripe is that pinterest does not offer sophisticated tracking or social shopping features. what the authors are missing or ignoring is that peer influence works at all points on the shopping continuum. pinterest can serve a vital role in driving awareness and discovery – the top of the funnel. traffic from pinterest to the top of the funnel can be tracked and measured precisely because URLs from pins can be measured.
is pinterest for every retailer? probably not. but not for the reasons identified in the mediapost article.
Bonus: I found a great piece on how to view the sales funnel in researching this post that suggests the a colander metaphor might be more appropriate, where focus shifts to preventing leaks in the funnel rather than increasing flow at the top. worth a read.