August 29, 2012, 10:47 AM

Zappos offers recommendations based on what shoppers ‘pin’

The retailer gives product recommendations based on what shoppers ‘pin’ on Pinterest.

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Online shoe and apparel retailer Zappos has launched PinPointing, a web page that offers personalized product recommendations based on what consumers have “pinned” on Pinterest, the burgeoning social network where users collect and show off things they've found around the web.

Pinning refers to consumers sharing items on Pinterest, such as a dress. Those pins are often accompanied by a brief description or caption that appears below an image of the pinned item, such as “Wouldn’t this dress look great when I’m in Miami next month?” Those pins are gathered together on the user’s Board, which she can organize around a particular theme, say “Beach clothes,” and share with friends. 

PinPointing analyzes a consumer’s descriptions of her pins, as well as her Board names. It uses an algorithm to match certain keywords a consumer shared on Pinterest with products from Zappos. Consumers can enter any Pinterest user’s name into PinPointing to see recommendations tailored to that consumer based on that shopper’s pins. For instance, if a consumer pinned a neon purse, PinPointing may recommend other neon products the shopper might like. Or, if a consumer has created a board called “My Future Wedding,” the tool might recommend dresses or accessories that fit the occasion.

“Stumped on what to get your friend for their birthday?” a Zappos employee identified as Alice H. wrote on the retailer’s blog. “Search for your buddy’s Pinterest user name and we’ll show you products your friend might like. Imagine their bewilderment as they unwrap their gift revealing that special something that reflects their unique style perfectly!”

The service is aimed at encouraging shoppers to move from highlighting particular products on Pinterest to making a purchase. “If you find yourself feeling like pinning won’t satisfy your shopping bug, go ahead and check out the product details and other similar products,” wrote Alice H.

Zappos’ research arm Zappos Labs created the offering, which consumers can access at

Zappos is owned by Inc., No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

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