Savvy merchants have discovered how to build customer loyalty by merging the social media experience with their bricks-and-mortar operations. Retailers with some of the best performance metrics from Pinterest and other visual platforms abide by five best practices that you can adopt for your own brand:

1. Build a library of “pinnable” images.

In a recent Bizrate Insights survey, 70% of consumers said they use Pinterest to “get inspiration on what to buy.” If you want to influence the conversations your customers are already having about your industry, deliver high quality images that Pinterest users will love to share. Curalate clients, like Real Simple, Campbell’s, and Benjamin Moore Paints, have shown that high quality lighting and photo composition can extend your brand recognition. Sleek images appeal to Pinterest users who prefer not to load up their boards with logos.

2. Ask for the pin.

The most successful Pinterest retailers don’t just hope that someone will repin images from their online catalogs. Plugging a “Pin It” button into your e-commerce website or adding requests to repin images can boost your images’ presence on social networks. In addition, a “call to action” request to share or repin your image can increase engagement by as much as 80 percent. As we previously reported, 85% of brand engagement happens outside of your brand’s Pinterest account. Continue to increase that number by asking for the pin.

3. Bring the Pinterest experience to the sales floor.

Australian home improvement franchise Carpet Court discovered that integrating an online design hub in their stores helped their design and sales teams close more deals. Instead of leaving customers to their own devices, the retailer staffed specialists who helped customers convert their Pinterest boards into design projects without leaving the store. The experience adds value for shoppers, while allowing salespeople to leverage a broader catalog of items from their warehouses.

4. Show your customers how to get the most from your products.

Pinterest users click through to see recipes, tutorials, and do-it-yourself pins almost half as many times as other types of content. Use your blog and your own Pinterest boards to teach your audience how to mix-and-match your products for unique designs and experiences. Anthropologie’s Personal Shopper service posts how-to boards that help the store’s customers to customize their looks. The service then invites customers to close the loop, bringing their Pinterest inspirations back to a local store for a complimentary, in-person appointment.

5. Experiment and measure.

Retail operations don’t always enjoy the same level of access to statistics as online merchants. When store teams actively engage customers on Pinterest, they can measure conversion and reach with far higher accuracy than estimating based on sales data. Curalate helps retailers identify how far their images have spread, and which taste-makers are responsible for driving traffic to their storefronts. Adjusting your campaigns based on verifiable information helps you make smarter decisions about product selection, special event scheduling, and seasonal promotions. Contact Curalate today to learn more about putting these five best practices to work in your retail operation!

(Photo Credit: The Guardian)