If the title reads like an old Batman comic, it might be because the online retailer Zappos is becoming a force for improving the sometimes tenuous connection between e-commerce and social media. Or it could just be the funny brand name.
Zappos rolled out “PinPointing” this week, a service that lives on their site and recommends products based on the photos their costumers ‘Pin’ on Pinterest. In a single step, the online apparel store, run by Amazon, has integrated social media properties with its online store, tested a new business model AND found a way to utilize Pinterest’s impressive 20 million users.
Zappos’s goal with PinPointing is to improve engagement and brand exposure by increasing the number of Zappos product pins on Pinterest, with the ultimate goal of increasing sales. The company plans to measure the conversion metrics, especially in lesser-known departments like Wedding, Couture and Housewares (areas that align nicely with Pinterest’s demographic and content), to measure the success of the service.
To use PinPointing, users go to the site and enter their Pinterest account name. Zappos generates recommendations based on prior pins, using brand, material, color and product keywords to inform product suggestions.
While there are still some glitches to work out with the technology (a Pinned photo of a grey dress with blue sandals might bring up a recommendation for grey men’s jeans and grey sneakers), PinPointing could solve the business model puzzle for Pinterest.
Here at WCG, with our emphasis on Social Commerce, this is an especially significant step as Zappos experiments with the monetization of a new platform. PinPointing, which incorporates Pinterest’s platform of organic referrals, shows there may be a more subtle way for Pinterest to make money than taking the route of Ad Revenue. Even with existing business models for social media, there’s been no clean solution to merging the interests of online sales and social communities. But Pinterest, with its high volume of organic referral traffic, may just be the perfect social media channel to bridge that gap.