Every year, BDO USA asks chief marketing officers from major retail companies whether they include social media in their marketing strategies. After BDO asked the question in 2007, WWD reported that just 4 percent of CMOs admitted to spending some of their time on social media. By last fall, that number rocketed to 86 percent. Digging deeper into those numbers, nearly every one of the top marketers in fashion retail told BDO’s researchers about their presence on Facebook. However, one in five said they already had plans to leverage Pinterest. That’s roughly the same amount of marketers that have built flash sales and mobile coupons into their strategies for the coming season. BDO’s not saying whether we’re talking about the same group of forward thinkers, or if there’s a lack of overlap among those strategies. Still, that quick jump in Pinterest fascination shows that the visual web has made major headway into mainstream marketing. If you’re planning on competing head-to-head with today’s sharpest marketers, consider taking these steps to let Pinterest influence your strategy.
1. Budget for quality images.
As the visual web takes the lead in driving online shopping decisions, marketers have learned the hard way not to skimp on photography. Investing in the kind of images that get pinned and shared can help spread your message farther and faster than typical, bland, catalog photos.
2. Converge your visuals.
Instead of treating your direct mail catalogs and your other offline media as different work tracks, earn a better return on your investment by using the same photography across all of your marketing channels. When your brand communications share the same look and feel, your audience can more easily spot your photos whether they’re re-pinned or posted on a billboard.
3. Track your biggest buzz.
Use Curalate’s marketing suite in conjunction with your e-commerce platform’s analytics tools to measure which of your products has caught the most attention on Pinterest and Instagram. With a distant early warning, you can make better supply chain decisions earlier in each season’s buying cycle.
4. Prepare for referral marketing.
Although Pinterest once experimented with an affiliate marketing model, the service now bans links or members it deems overly sales-driven. Nonetheless, industry experts speculate that Pinterest could soon offer its own e-commerce functionality. Now’s the right time to review your own e-commerce infrastructure. Make sure your site can handle referrals from affiliates or API calls from external ordering systems.
5. Plan to offer alternatives.
You can avoid the empty shelves syndrome we recently wrote about by ensuring that your e-commerce platform can recommend similar products or accept pre-orders when a particular item sells out. Contact our team today to learn how you can put all five of these best practices to work for your e-commerce website.