Nordstrom Capitalizes on the Social Shopper with In-Store Pinterest Tie-In

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While many brands are using Pinterest to drive online sales, the wildly popular image-based network is reaching back into brick-and-mortar stores with Nordstrom, marking its “most-pinned” products from the site with “P” tags at 13 of its 248 physical store locations.

“We had such a large and engaged Pinterest community already,” Nordstrom spokesman Colin Johnson told Bloomberg Businessweek. The 112-year-old brand had already been leveraging the social site, he added, “to find out what’s exciting for our customers—and what’s inspiring them.” 

Nordstrom uses items pinned by followers to help manage inventory, as an app lets its sales force access a “dashboard” that cross-references the most-pinned handbags, shoes, etc., against products in stock at that particular store. “If we’re not deep in stock in something,” Johnson says, bookmarking something on Pinterest is “not going to help the customer.”[more]

An item “most-pinned” near one Nordstrom location may not be so popular elsewhere, making the retailer hyper-sensitive to geo-locating inventory. 

With 4.5 million followers on Pinterest, the venerable department store has a substantial lead over its rivals. The strategy, says Johnson, is more about “engagement” than revenue. “You get such great instant feedback that it makes a lot of sense that you’d want to capture it.” The small tag with the red ‘P’ branding signals to customers in-store what’s hottest online—a growing reference for social-savvy consumers that like to crowdsource their outfits. 

The Pinterest experiment, which will end its testing phase at the end of July, is just the latest move by retailers in general to utilize technology to boost brick-and-mortar brands instead of hurt them.  “This test really came out of our desire as a company to align our social strategy with what our customers are talking about and what our customers are interested in,” Bryan Galipeau, social media manager at Nordstrom, told GeekWire.com. After all, Galipeau added, Pinterest is the “world’s biggest wish list.”

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