March 1, 2012, 10:51 AM

Pinterest pins up business for Etsy and Kate Spade

The fledgling social network is helping consumers discover new products, retailers find.

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Etsy.com, the popular e-marketplace for handcrafted goods, reports having more than 35 million unique monthly visitors to its more than 800,000 online shops selling items like jewelry, needlecraft and coffee mugs—and $525 million in gross merchandise sales in 2011.

It’s not surprising, then, that Etsy is also a top player on social discovery site Pinterest.com, where its roughly 46,000 followers “Pin” products from the Etsy marketplace for other consumers to see.

Pinterest, with 12 million actively engaged consumers, offers a ready audience that promises to support further growth at Etsy and other retail sites that take steps to manage their presence on Pinterest, says Scot Wingo, CEO of ChannelAdvisor Corp., a company that helps online retailers engage consumers through e-marketplaces. (An article by Wingo, “Pinterest For Beginners,” appears in the March issue of Internet Retailer.)

Wingo suggests taking five steps toward engaging consumers through Pinterest:

● Research a retail brand’s existing exposure on Pinterest, which offers a useful search mechanism for finding products and brands that consumers have already Pinned in Pinterest product category boards.

● Learn the Pinterest rules about promoting brands on Pinterest.com, where retailers can set up activities to engage consumers.

● Integrate Pinterest.com with your own retail e-commerce site, such as by posting a Pinterest Follow button on a retail site’s home page or in e-mail marketing messages to direct consumers to a Pinterest profile page.

● Host a party. Fashion brand Kate Spade, for example, celebrated its launch on Pinterest with a Pin Party that offered prizes to consumers who Pinned Kate Spade products on Pinterest boards.

● Learn to use Pinterest as a tool for conducting market research on consumer interests.

Following is part of a list compiled by Wingo of leading retailers on Pinterest.com and their number of followers on the social discovery site:

Etsy, 58,000

Kate Spade, 11,457

ModCloth, 9,883

West Elm, 9,521

Nordstrom, 8,700

Bergdorf Goodman, 6,342

Michaels Crafts, 4,918

Neiman Marcus, 1,710

Gap, 1,483

Rent the Runway, 939

Kate Spade is a part of Liz Claiborne Inc., No. 340 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide; West Elm is part of Williams-Sonoma Inc., No. 25; Bergdorf Goodman is part of The Neiman Marcus Group Inc., No. 39; Gap No. 24; Nordstrom No. 34; Mod Cloth No. 403.

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