Social Shopping: Making Target Awesome

Posted by Sara Flick on December 19th, 2013 at 4:55 pm

Pinterest is flexing its social media muscle this holiday season. Revenue from Pinterest pins doubled on Black Friday and the Thanksgiving weekend, and more than tripled on Cyber Monday compared to an average day despite overall traffic staying steady. In a recent study Piquora did of 1,000 brands, an average pin generates 78 cents in sales and drives two visits to company websites.

In other words, Pinterest is proving is can drive traffic to retailers websites and motivate sales. Retailers are taking notice of Pinterest’s ability to spur sales and are incorporating the female-dominated social networking site into their social media strategies for the holiday shopping season and beyond.

Target’s Awesome Shop: Pinning Success

Target has launched what it’s calling the Target Awesome Shop, a Pinterest-powered site being tested by the retailer. It features the “best-reviewed” and “most-pinned” items from Target.com, which are refreshed daily. The products are organized by pins, meaning product placement isn’t chosen by what the store wants to sell; it’s being decided by what Pinterest users want.

When customers click on an item they see the price, reviews and the number of pins it has recently received.  From shoppers, they can link to Pinterest and pin the item themselves, pushing it farther up the list, or can click on the “view details” bar to open up the item’s page at Target.com to purchase it.

Target is taking the Pinterest experience full circle by highlighting some of their most popular items on Pinterest in-store. Here’s a look at how the Target marketing team is encouraging in-person shoppers to head to the Awesome Shop.

Pinterest Power: Targeting Consumers

For many Pinterest users the site is about discovery, meaning they use it to find things they’d like to buy, not necessarily the things they plan to buy that minute.

But with the Awesome Shop, Target is trying to influence customers down their decision path, from discovery to purchase.  The consumer decision path works as a roadmap by which marketers can influence, track and assess conversions. The steps along the path are awareness, consideration, decision and purchase. Pinterest users normally fall into the awareness and consideration steps, but with the Awesome Shop, Target is hoping that by adding reviews and integrating the shopping with social media more seamlessly, consumer will make more decisions and purchase more products. Target’s own press release hints at the goal saying “Warning: It’s kind of addictive, and you might make impulse purchases. Which is exactly the point.” You can learn more about how this in ZOG’s learn on “From Search to Discovery”.

"People don't know what they want, they have some notion they need something, but they don't exactly know what it is, they don't know how to search for it," Steve Patrizi, Target’s head of partner marketing says. "When you go to Pinterest it's a discovery experience, it's like walking into a mall. You don't know exactly what you want but then you see something and you know you want it."

Target is not the first, nor the only retailer to try and rake in retail sales using Pinterest. Companies like Nordstrom, Anthropologie and J. Crew all use the site to varying degrees. But what Target is doing with the Awesome Shop is different, because it’s putting consumers in charge of what’s displayed and integrating the results with user reviews on Target.com.

The rollout of rich pins, specialty pins focused on movies, recipes and products, is another way for businesses to try and stand out on the social media site that doesn’t yet allow advertising.  Adweek predicts that advertising on the social network will likely be “native-looking and centered on commerce.” With rich pins, Pinterest is nearly there already, considering that “native” refers to the integration of ads and content.


So far, Target has declined to offer details on the traffic that the Awesome Shop is providing Target.com. The retailer says it will be watching to see how customers react to the new “Awesome Shop” before deciding how the service could fit in with the company’s future plans, including if it should be expanded to other social media outlets.

If the experiment turns out to be the success Target is hoping for, look for other retailers to copy the idea and the design quickly. Pinterest already drives more purchases than Facebook, with over 70 percent of users turning to the social network for shopping inspiration. Businesses and marketers should not ignore the power of Pinterest when putting together their social media strategy for 2014.

Leave a comment