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Do luxury brand Pinterest gift guides drive sales?

December 21, 2012


Luxury marketers such as Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue and Gucci recently pushed gift guides via social inspiration site Pinterest to spark interest in their products among female users. But has this boosted holiday sales?

Throughout the holiday season luxury marketers have used Pinterest to promote special collections or intrigue consumers through images of products which could spark the through of a purchase, experts says. Users are then able to re-pin the products onto their own Pinterest accounts or “like” the products on the brand account pages which helps marketers tap peer-to-peer sharing.

“Brands should definitely be active on Pinterest during the holidays,” said Marko Z. Muellner, senior director of marketing, Shoplgniter, Portland, OR. “Millions of people, mostly women, are researching products and creating wish lists for themselves as we speak.

“If you want users to consider you and discover what you have to offer, you should be here, too,” he said.

“During the holidays in particular, customers are looking to buy and the pressure increases the closer to Christmas we get.”

Making a list

Many luxury brands active on Pinterest have at least one board dedicated to holiday gifts.

Gucci’s board is titled “Unwrap Gucci” and contains 42 product pins ranging from black patent leather high-heal platform shoes to a boy’s striped cotton jacket and pant.

This board is currently being followed by 5,354 Pinterest users. The pins on the board use the hashtag #UnwrapGucci.

Unwrap Gucci board

Marc Jacobs Intl. has a similar gifting Pinterest board that shows 46 product pins containing a variety of apparel and accessories. It has more than 14,000 followers.

This gifting board shows off various apparel and accessories from the brand such as the Large Single bag and a sequined Mickey Mouse embroidered sweater. It also features Little Marc Jacobs products for children.

Marc Jacobs' gifting board

Retailers Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman created holiday gift boards that feature more seasonal and holiday items.

Bergdorf Goodman has two gift boards - one for adults and one for children.

The one for children is titled “Holiday 2012: Make a good first impression” and it features various toys and apparel for boys and girls from the Little BG collection. This board of 39 pins has more than 36,000 followers.

Pin from the Little BG board

The Bergdorf Goodman board titled “Holiday 2012: Redefine Pleasantly Surprised” shows off 35 pins to 36,198 followers. It includes a mixture of household items, apparel, watches, food and cocktail recipes and other ideas for unique gifts.

The Bergdorf Goodman-edition Cadillac is also included on the board.

Bergdorf Goodman holiday board

Bergdorf Goodman also has another board that only contains its sale items.

The Saks Fifth Avenue holiday gift guide board features 165 pins of holiday-themed gifts, watches for men and women, jewelry, apparel, books and household items. It has approximately 16,700 followers.

Some of the gifts on this board have a price listed on the pin itself such as the Bond. No. 9 New York Nuits De Noho Candle for $95.

Also included is the Vogue Covers Coffee Table Book, Dior Diorific Nail Lacquer and Alexis Brittar Fringed Swarovski Crystal and Lucite Drop Earrings.

Bond. No. 9 New York Nuits De Noho Candle

In addition to the board, Saks built excitement for the holiday shopping season by giving away a $2,000 gift card to five Pinterest users for its “Pin it to Win it” holiday contest.

Users were required to pin six items from Saks’ Web site that they want to give as gifts for the holidays and name their board to enter the contest. Those who entered the contest were also asked to follow Saks on Pinterest (see story).

Pin to sale

Pinterest boards could drive ecommerce through brands' Web sites. 

“Pinterest is known for driving a significant number of referral visits to a brand’s Web site and I believe during the holiday season, retailers will also see a spike in commerce from Pinterest,” said Brittany Mills, director of client services at B Culture Media, Atlanta.

“A lot of Pinterest users leveraged the platform to build their own holiday gift lists,” she said. “I think the ease of shopping for friends and loved ones from these boards will absolutely drive direct Web site purchases this year.”

Pinterest also helps brands by allowing them to see their followers' favorite products by tracking the “likes” and re-pins, Ms. Mills said.

However, many of the boards feature a wide variety of gifts that include items for every member of the family. This could be a downfall when users explore gift ideas.

“During the holidays we have specific people with specific interests, so shopping is more focused, and the ability to filter and browse more deeply curated collections is essential,” ShopIgniter’s Mr. Muellner said.

“Boards with a wide variety of items from candles to expensive watches to kitchen appliances will not work as well,” he said.

Marketers should be sure that they are putting their best products forward to drive more pinners to purchases.

Brands should also watermark images and make sure that they link to the brand’s Web site, amplify promotions of media and their products and give social fans special offers, per Mr. Muellner.

“Pinterest definitely has the ability to drive commerce, both online and off,” Mr. Muellner said.

Not just for the holidays
Many of the brands that have used Pinterest for holiday gift guides have also used this medium to drive sales during other times of the year.

For instance, Gucci honed in on Pinterest to leverage its digital banner placements by letting consumers “pin” fall/winter 2012 apparel and accessories directly from the ads.

Gucci seemed to be targeting young consumers to convert them into brand loyalists and was likely positioning itself across all social networks to get ahead of others in its sector (see story).

Also, precision-cut crystal glass maker Swarovski Elements upped its social media strategy and raised awareness for the release of its digital publication through a Pinterest contest that highlighted the latest collection.

The Jewels for Every Occasion Pinterest contest celebrated Swarovski’s publication Made With to show how the brand’s creations can be worn five different ways throughout the day (see story).

Pinterest can give brands the ability to not only drive sales, but also to further engage with their enthusiasts.

“I do believe that brands leverage Pinterest as a place to engage with their fans and tell their brand story,” B Culture Media’s Ms. Mills said. “Even if a brand cannot benefit from the ecommerce element of Pinterest, brands can still use it to share their favorite traditions, recipes and places to visit as a way to engage users.”

Final take

Erin Shea, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York