Pinterest: I Need a 12-Step Program

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There, I’ve said it.  I am addicted to Pinterest.  Social media maven Mary Kay Russell led me here a few weeks ago.  Although I didn’t want to add yet another social media addiction to my already full plate of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, I am now spending more time on Pinterest than the rest combined.  In part, because it is new; but also because it is incredibly fun and useful on many levels.  And the more time I spend on it, the more I can see why it could be hugely beneficial to the toy business – especially for retailers – from the big guys to the small brick & mortar stores. 

So what is Pinterest?  And why should toy retailers be interested in it?  Pinterest is an online “social” Pinterest site that lets users collect images they find online and offline – onto virtual bulletin boards that they can categorize and organize however they wish (i.e. home décor, recipes, party planning, TOYS I MUST BUY).  Find something you want to buy?  Or maybe a DIY project you want to try?  How about a recipe you’d like to save?  Grab the image and “pin” it onto one of your boards.  The social part (this is where it gets addicting) comes into play when the user starts to window shop on Pinterest.  Users can follow each other’s boards, and images can be shared or “repinned”, commented on, or “liked”.  If a user wants to find out more about an item or make a purchase, they can click on the image and it’ll take them to the originating site.

I now have over 25 boards with over 1,000 images – and the list is growing.  As you might have guessed, among my 25 boards are Toy and Game Inventors, Chicago Toy & Game Exhibitors, Kid Inventors and My Favorite Toy Stores.   I no longer need to keep notes about places I want to go, recipes I want to try, decorating ideas, books I want to read, unusual wine corks, videos I like, etc.  It’s all there for me when I want it, in an organized system that I understand and can access from anywhere, anytime.

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For me, it’s a visual, virtual wonderland where I can discover, collect and share images I love – and keep them all together in one tidy spot.  And apparently, I’m not alone.  In fact, 80% of Pinterest’s 4 Million+ audience is female.  At the risk of sounding sexist, women like to shop more than men.  And Pinterest is obviously selling to women.  In a blog that refers to Pinterest as Catnip for Women, one line really resonated with me:

“Women – especially those with kids – have a lot of noise in their lives. Most social networks add to the cacophony – with video sharing, podcasts, and music sharing. Even sites without sound have chaos built in. Twitter moves at the clip of Class VI river rapids. Blink and you might miss something.  Yet Pinterest is soundless.  Something about the sumptuousness of the imagery, combined with the hush of its presentation, creates a deeply zen experience. I feel younger after every visit.”

 Retailers have already starting tapping into its potential. For its “Pin It to Win It” contest, Lands’ End asked fans to create boards with their favorite Land’s End products for the chance to win a $250 gift card.  Nordstrom is actively pinning, with categorized boards like Valentine’s Day, Nautical Vibes, Trends We Love and Beauty Favorites.

For toy retailers and manufacturers, this is good news.  Pinterest will impact purchases.  Toy retailers Pinterest.2 like Learning Express and many small specialty toy stores have already created visual storefronts on Pinterest.  Companies like Learning Resources, Bananagrams  and Mindtwister USA are filling their boards too, not only with product offerings, but with boards that let the viewer take a peek into the personality behind the brand.  Bananagrams keeps users lingering on their boards with images of craft activities, fun decorating ideas, cute images of kids, and of course – one board dedicated to everything “bananas”!

Mashable wrote today that, “Though the hot Palo Alto startup is staying mum about its user numbers, one study found it drives more traffic to websites than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn combined.” Incredible.

Ready to hop on board?  Go to www.pinterest.com and request an invitation to join.  The read about Five Ways Retailers Can Benefit from Pinterest, and get inspired!  If you’re already on Pinterest, tell us how you like it, and how it’s impacted your business.

Happy pinning! 

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