US retailer Target has launched a website in beta version to test out an e-commerce shop window fed by Pinterest-led trends and recommendations.

Target relies on Pinterest to enhance customer experience


Having lost part of its market share, US retailer Target recently decided to review its strategy and focus greater attention on its online sales channel. Sure enough, the retailer has now managed to improve its social positioning by highlighting product offerings on its Facebook page and launching a number of other digital initiatives. Among these, Target has created an e-commerce site fed by recommendations from the photo-pinboard site Pinterest. Entitled ‘Target Awesome Shop’, it has been launched in beta version and is currently being tested out by consumers. This site extracts and updates on a daily basis data both from the company’s initial e-commerce site and from Pinterest. The idea is to create a structured shopping experience which includes information on ‘in’ items. The company was already familiar with Pinterest as it regularly feeds 45 ‘pinboards’ on various themes. Target seems to have realised that this image-collection-based social network offers a good many opportunities to commercial firms.

Drawing on Pinterest trends

Target Awesome Shop currently displays 1,000 products, including those which have been the most ‘pinned’ on Pinterest plus those which receive the best comments on The way the products are presented is similar to the Pinterest approach, offering visual, targeted browsing according to the popularity of items and photos. The site was developed and launched in just a few weeks by an internal development team at Target, so that the various aspects could be rapidly tested. In the same vein, Toys ‘R’ Us has established a partnership with ‘social e-commerce’ company 8thBridge, in order to create an approach similar to that of Pinterest, highlighting the toys that appeal most to online visitors.

Pinterest enjoys growing company-appeal

Target has declined to provide any details of the traffic or the sales conversion rate that Pinterest has so far brought to, but Pinterest itself had already reported an increase of 70% in traffic in the first six months following the launch of 'Rich Pins' – pins tailored to product promotion – earlier this year. ‘Pins’ – i.e. the images/items that have attracted customers’ attention – regularly grow in value. Today, a ‘pin’ corresponds to an increase of over 25% in sales compared with last year. Pinterest is moreover a highly viral channel: a ‘pin’ on Pinterest leads to an average of two site visits, six pages viewed and over ten ‘re-pins’. Unsurprisingly therefore many companies are becoming interested in Pinterest, and are thinking up various ways to benefit commercially from its popularity. For instance, US fashion retailer Nordstrom has been trying out an in-store Pinterest pitch. Sales assistants armed with iPads use Pinterest to show ‘pins’ that are in vogue and in-store merchandise which is labelled as being popular on Pinterest. Target is aiming to use the current beta version of Target Awesome Shop to observe customer reaction in order to help decide on its future plans and any modifications that should be made to the site. Meanwhile, the company is planning to draw on other social networks, including Facebook, to select the items it will highlight.


By Manon Garnier