pinterest dressThis definitely isn’t grandma’s closet. Pinterest is the future of retail – melding convenience and technology at a fashionable rate. The image-based social network is altering consumers shopping habits and taking clothes connections out of the attic and into the digital sphere.

Allowing users to window shop and make purchases with just the click of a mouse, Pinterest is increasingly effective in driving traffic and sales. Currently, the network accounts for 25% of all retail referral traffic.

On average, Pinterest shoppers spend more money than those on other social networks: $170 per session on Pinterest versus $95 on Facebook and $70 on Twitter. This is because consumers begin browsing on Pinterest with a higher purchase intent in mind.

Pinterest is clearly a sales dynamo and an excellent example of the merging of ecommerce and marketing. Yet a new study by Digitas and Curalate reports that over 70% of engagement on the network is user-generated. This begs the question: where are the brands?

Fashion retail brands are lacking a presence on Pinterest, and thus missing out on opportunities to increase visibility, traffic and revenue. The good news, however, is that there’s plenty of room for growth if brands begin optimizing now. Take a look at the following best practices for retail brands on Pinterest and set up or convert to a Pinterest business account here.

Invest Less to Gain More. The retail industry is particularly set to benefit from Pinterest, beginning with low customer acquisition costs. On Pinterest, the current cost of acquiring a follower is around 50 cents – whereas it’s closer to $2.50 on Facebook.

Tailor Content. The interest-based foundation of Pinterest also establishes instant niche targeting for retail brands. The categories focus consumers on topics such as men or women’s fashion, and the search tool enables further specifications. Brands can tailor content to consumers by way of board titles, keyword-enriched descriptions and hashtags.

Pin Away! For a not-entirely-active industry, top brands in fashion still see an above average number of repins: 46 compared to six. The direct traffic opportunity urges brands to pin straight from their site for a higher conversion rate. Pinterest analytics can help with measurement.

Timing Matters. Retail brands looking to improve Pinterest metrics should increase activity on Friday’s at 3 pm, according to the results of a study on content engagement by industry.

Learn From Your Competition. There are some brands who “Pinterest” really well. For instance, Nordstrom has 61 boards that encompass much more than just their clothes or accessories. Similarly, L.L. Bean has found success on Pinterest (with well over 5 million followers!) by fully embracing their outdoors persona and including boards such as “Camping” and “Woodland Creatures,” along with “Women’s Style.” Understanding your brand goals, reputation and customers will help you reach success in profile creation.

With over 25 million users and counting, Pinterest is a necessary social network for those in the retail industry. Optimize your profile today in order to reap the benefits. Pinterest should be part of your larger social media optimization (SMO) strategy in order to make a lasting impact.

Contact ZOG Digital today for an SMO or Pinterest-specific audit.

P.S. Don’t do this on Pinterest!