February 10, 2012, 9:36 AM

Pinterest drives shoppers to Gemvara

3.36% of the retailer’s traffic stems from the fledgling social network.

Lead Photo

The e-retailer uses the online social network to engage consumers.

Even before custom jewelry retailer Gemvara.com became actively engaged on Pinterest about six months ago, the web merchant’s customers were already talking about the brand’s products on the fledgling social network.

In fact, it was those digital conversations that drove Gemvara to begin interacting on the social network, which launched less than two years ago and enables users to ‘Pin’ things on the web that they like, such as a particular piece of jewelry. Those Pins are then gathered together on the user’s Board, which she can organize and share with friends. Consumers can follow other shoppers on the social network, which enables them to see each others’ Boards; that also can help consumers discover brands or products.

Consumers cannot buy Gemvara products directly from Pinterest. Being on the social network, though, helps the retailer to reach an engaged fan base, says Brian Kalma, Gemvara’s chief experience officer. “We want to have a conversation where users are by posting meaningful and inspiring content,” he says.

A few times a day, the retailer’s community experience designer, Melissa Lacitignola, or one of her colleagues creates a Board that showcases how shoppers can customize Gemvara’s products. For instance, its Board “20 Ways to Style the Pinstripe Eternity Band,” shows how using platinum instead of gold, rubies or emeralds can transform the look of a ring. “It’s a way for us to present our products in an interesting way,” she says.

The retailer’s customers also are regularly Pinning its products so when a consumer clicks on “Pins from Gemvara” she can see other Pinterest users’ potential engagement rings, necklaces and other jewelry that they’ve customized on the retailer’s site.

Pinterest is helping shoppers to discover Gemvara, says Kalma, which, in turn, is driving traffic to the retailer’s web site. In the past month, 3.36% of the retailer’s traffic came directly from Pinterest, outpacing Twitter, Google+ and every other social network save Facebook, which accounted for 7.38% of Gemvara’s traffic, according to Alexa Internet Inc., a unit of Amazon.com Inc. that provides web site traffic and other Internet data. “It’s one of our largest non-paid traffic sources,” says Kalma. Amazon is No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

Gemvara isn’t alone. A recent analysis of the upstream traffic to five specialty apparel retail sites by Monetate Inc., a provider of testing and targeting technology, shows that same-store referral traffic from Pinterest increased to 3.83% in December from 0.98% in July.

Gemvara is No. 605 in the Second 500 Guide.

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