Witnessing a 21st Century Rags to Riches Story: The Future of Pinterest Part 3

Since early 2012, Hiroshi Mikitani CEO of Rakuten, the Ecommerce giant in Asia, has invested 100 million  dollars into Pinterest bringing Pinterest to a current evaluation of 7.8 billion dollars. He identified the untapped value of Pinterest as a visual content discovery platform that will enhance the integration of the E-commerce visually, with their  Email marketing campaigns, combined with Pinterest mobile capabilities,and be able to reach their customers as Pinterest is very successful in Japan.

Rakuten has a portfolio of over 40,000 merchants in the Asian market, and is emerging into the US Market, with several startup US based companies they recently acquired.

Rakuten have been hailed as the equivalent of Amazon in the Asian Market. They are lauded for three things that their business model does very well. “Their systems, wealth of expertise and ability to drive massive traffic to their merchants on their website”. Which is a great fit for Pinterest as it also performs all three very well.

Pinterest provides a visual grid system and nurtures a diverse community. Pinterest refers massive traffic to websites and is the current leader in referrals for retailers ahead of Twitter,Youtube and Linkedin.

How are top brands using Pinterest to create engagement and harness traffic?

It is easy to envision what the future holds for Pinterest as we get a glimpse of the heavy hitters, like these retailers, who are creating unique ways to harness the power of Pinterest.

Let’s look at Nordstrom as an example of a heavy hitter in action. Nordstrom recently  introduced a new strategy to leverage the massive incoming traffic from Pinterest by indicating popular items with a Pinterest tag, to easily identify what their followers on Pinterest are finding worthy of pinning.  This strategy is being watched very closely as it will open a new level of engagement and increase conversions from online to physical space that has not been seen from social media or networking channels previously.

In the case of Free People, a division of Urban Outfitters brands, they have introduced a line of holiday dresses specifically to the Pinterest community, with a specific link before it is launched  to the public in  October. This is a new level of engagement and tribe building on Pinterest. By creating an exclusive cachet retailers like this one are showcasing creative ways to harness the power of Pinterest.

This type of engagement was pioneered by Campbell Soup, as they integrated a new strategy for the Thanksgiving Holiday season by asking their followers to create specific boards to promote the green bean casserole image. For every board that was created using this particular pin, a $1.00 was given to the soup kitchen to feed the homeless. In less than 2 weeks it was the most re-pinned  image. With over 10,000 repins, this was the first successful campaign of its kind on Pinterest to benefit charity.

Recently, Toys “R” Us revealed its 10th Annual campaign for Toys for Tots. Toys “R” Us is partnering with NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal to encourage people to donate to the cause that will help make children's holiday wishes come true. Toys “R” Us has created a board dedicated to this campaign on Pinterest.

Another business sector that is utilizing Pinterest in innovatives way is travel related businesses like Turkish Airlines. According to the Turkish tourism office, Turkey was the 6th most visited country in the world in 2011. Turkish Airlines has a board dedicated to their FANS, and a board showcasing the food that is served onboard and their executive chef.

Jetsetter went a step further in engaging and building their mailing list. They encourage their Pinterest  followers to plan a vacation on Pinterest because it is very easy, and very interactive. They were required to create boards in these 3 categories:style and cosmopolitan, adventure and escape. It took less than a month for the followers to pin over 50,000 images. For their efforts a panel was created of Arianna Huffington creator of Huffington Post and Glenda Bailey, editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar Magazine,to choose  the winner The selected winning pinner received an all expense paid trip to the destination of their choice. The destination had to be pinned on their boards that meet the specific criteria, of course.

There’s a current trend of Pinterest party mixers going on too. It is a great way to gather friends and others in the community. The party themes are based on pins the host or hostess has gathered from Pinterest. Event Planners hope you’re paying attention, because this is a perfect way to engage ideal clients, as the busiest party season of the year approaches.

Pinterest has teamed up with Teachers and Edutopia  to launch a hub for teachers called, “Teachers on Pinterest”.

Pinterest is quickly becoming a valued resource for teachers and homeschoolers to find everything from classroom decorating to lesson planning.

If you are in the The Fashion industry and unable to attend the top fashion week events around the world in locations like Paris, London, Milan, or New York you can attend from your couch, your office, or even the beach.

Pinterest has showcased all the details from backstage to commentaries of each Fashion Week city.

The boards are curated by well known brands such as Kate Spade, Oscar de la Renta etc. Furthermore, if you want to know who the emerging designers are, follow the “Up and coming Designers” board.

The Style network has partnered with Pinterest to showcase the top ten Fall trends, that includes a widget on the Style Network website.

Is Monetizing of Pinterest ahead?

With the advent of promoted pins onto our feed of selected businesses one thing is clear. It’s only a matter of time before Pinterest introduces a monetized version of the site. In the not too distant future, I expect to see Pinterest harnessing the power of Rakuten E-Commerce capabilities and credit card processing expertise to create a mall of the future where businesses will be able to offer products consumers can purchase directly off the Pinterest website. It might be something similar to Etsy, but more refined.

There is really no limit to what the future holds for Pinterest. We see how far it’s already come from the early days, when we take a look at some hard cold facts and figures from just a couple of the numerous Pinterest studies:

  • January 29,2012 Complete.com and Mashable report between Sept 2011 to December 2011

Pinterest increased at 429% in growth in unique visitors from 1.68 million to 7.21

  • Referrals to retail store during that same period increased at 389%, during the month of December 2011

Pinterest refer 29% of traffic behind Google, ahead of Yahoo and Bing. Pinterest has been dubbed the

hottest growing website.

Expect to see growth in not just the number of users but also in the range of businesses, service professionals, performers and artists who will be making Pinterest a center piece in their branding and marketing strategies.

Life in the modern world has gone visual and your marketing should be too.

If you are not on Pinterest chances are your ideal customers are already there!

21st Century  Rags to Riches stories are being told all over the internet, many of them right on Pinterest by one who wrote its own  21st Century Rags to Riches tale in just 4 short years..

To see Part 1 and Part 2 of the story!

Be sure to come back to read my next series articles. Debunking Pinterest Myths. I’ve got some trade secrets to share with you like ‘the best time to pin on Pinterest’!

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