March 1, 2012, 12:00 AM

Pinterest helps to brighten up traffic flow at online custom jewelry retailer Gemvara

When jewelry retailer Gemvara.com started to actively participate on social discovery site Pinterest.com, many of its customers were already Pinning its products there to share with other shoppers.

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It didn't take long for jewelry retailer Gemvara.com to build exposure on Pinterest.com, where consumers "Pin" products they like from online retailers to share with other consumers. Indeed, Gemvara's customers were already sharing Pins before the retailer began to actively participate itself in the social discovery site.

Pinterest, launched less than two years ago by Cold Brew Labs Inc., doesn't directly process online sales, but it helps retailers to reach, engage and expand their base of loyal followers. "It's a way for us to present our products in an interesting way," says Melissa Lacitignola, Gemvara's community experience designer.

For example, a few times a day Gemvara will create a Board on Pinterest that showcases how shoppers can customize Gemvara's products. One such 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. "We want to have a conversation where users are, by posting meaningful and inspiring content," says Brian Kalma, Gemvara's chief experience officer.

And because the retailer's customers also are regularly Pinning its products, other shoppers can click "Pins from Gemvara" on Pinterest to see other Pinterest users' designs for engagement rings, necklaces and other jewelry that they've customized on Gemvara.com.

As Pinterest helps shoppers discover Gemvara, it's driving more traffic to the jewelry site, Kalma says. In January, 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," Kalma says.

Gemvara isn't alone. A recent analysis of the upstream traffic to five specialty apparel e-commerce 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.

zak@verticalwebmedia.com

@ZakStamborIR

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