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Forbes - Wednesday July 22, 2014
Forever 21, Urban Outfitters Among Most Popular Retailers On Pinterest, Relative Newbie Tops List
By Barbara Thau





Pinterests fastest growing retail brands from Urban Outfitters to Kate Spade all understand one thing: Image is king.

Thats what a new ranking of the 500 Fastest Growing Brands on the social-scrapbooking site revealed, according to Stylophane, a social media index and analytics firm.

The list ranked brands that generated the most new followers in June on Pinterest.

"All online revenue from shopping relies on the quality of the images," Alex Mendoza managing partner with Stylophane, told Forbes. "Pinterest is not text heavy like Facebook and Twitter, it's primarily a visual medium, so successful brands have the creative assets, photos, needed to keep their pages interesting."

Images and photography are the "king component for social media," prompting people to click, "like," or comment on a photo because they are "immediate, and in fashion and retail a beautiful image makes social engagement go up, and online sales go up," he said.

Fashion, Beauty, Footwear Retailers Rack Up Pinterest Followers



The retailers growing the fastest on Pinterest, from apparel chains to beauty and footwear merchants, are a mix of relative newcomers and established players. Its a testament to the fact that online social networks have become the great equalizer.

Indeed, the Internet has knocked down barriers to entry across industries, from commerce to entertainment, evidenced by the success of YouTube-generated pop stars to startup merchants that have found a rapid following online that would have been inconceivable in the pre-digital era.

Social shopping site Modcloth, which lets consumers decide what goods it should sell via crowdsourcing and was founded in 2002, ranks as the fastest growing retailer on Pinterest, according to Stylophane.

Urban Outfitters, Forever 21 , Anthropologie, Sephora and Kohls round out the top five, with Victorias Secret coming in at number 8 and J. Crew taking the number 10 spot on Pinterests top 200 retailers list.



Topping the list of top 200 fashion brands on Pinterest is Reformation, which sells limited-edition, vintage inspired collections, followed by Free People (an Urban Outfitters spin-off) and lingerie merchant CLO Intimo, according to Stylophane, with companies such as yoga chain Lululemon and Kate Spade rounding out the top ten.

Kate Spade launched a Pinterest product board just weeks ago, which has already generated more than 180,000 followers with a mix of 20% commerce pins and 80% "pure inspiration," reported Women's Wear Daily this week.

"Pinterest has had the reputation in apparel for being one of the strongest social media drivers of sales," Mendoza said.



In the world of beauty, Avon, blow dry salon Drybar and Ulta Beauty are the three fastest growing brands on Pinterest, while Alegria, Nike Women USA and Famous Footwear are the fastest growing footwear brands.

Brands that are successful on Pinterest regularly refresh their images, and are active at creating new boards. "Pinterest boards are mostly thematic, and staying up to date with the season is important," Mendoza said.

Pin And Tell

But it's not just about pretty pictures.

In order to generate a return on investment on Pinterest, retailers must put that eye candy to work to close the sale. That means linking images to e-commerce and encouraging content sharing, Mendoza said.



"Many, if not most, good strategies should have e-commerce in mind. Products you pin can and should link back to that product on your shopping site. Some brands miss this I cant imagine why, but I see it all too often.

Several brands also work with whats called "pinfluencers," who help them promote their product.

And generating fresh, visually enticing content that plays to the social nature of the site and its most devoted fans women is key.

Pinterest is an online scrapbooking tool especially loved by women, Mendoza said. Its a "highly focused tool for sharing images you love, and [when] used by women, fashion and shoes are things that are shared a lot, and so that stokes sales big time, he said.

"I dont think people want to share images of insurance company pins, Geico State Farm, nor typical P&G products like Tide, dental floss.

Click to see full article on Forbes.com

Click to see Stylophane Pinterest Index