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Nordstrom Could Start Using Pinterest To Make Merchandising Decisions

SAP

  This post is part of the “Future of Business” series, which examines how cutting-edge technologies are rapidly reshaping our world, from how businesses run to how we live. “The Future of Business” is sponsored by SAP. See more posts in the series »

nordstrom pinterest

Nordstrom’s Pinterest community could soon have influence over what is displayed in stores.

The retailer is testing showcasing the most popular items on Pinterest in various departments of its physical stores.

Nordstrom, which has 4.5 million users on the social network, is the first retailer to test this approach. Popular items on Pinterest are displayed with a red tag identifying them as popular. 

Bryan Galipeau, social media manager at Nordstrom, told Business Insider it “makes sense” for the retailer to incorporate social feedback into the shopping experience.

“What we’re doing here is taking the lead from the customer,” Galipeau said. “We’ve seen really rapid growth on Pinterest, so what’s relevant to our Pinterest followers could be interesting to other shoppers as well.”

Nordstrom has been working with Pinterest for years. 

The retailer has a “Pin” button for every item on its website. It also showcases popular Pinterest items on its e-commerce site.

But Galipeau said this test takes the engagement to a whole new level.  

“Our intuition is that this test might translate digital insight into a real experience,” Galipeau said. “It’s compelling to consider how an online community could affect merchandising decisions in a physical store.” 

The retailer also created an in-store app for salespeople that matches up popular Pinterest items with current inventory for a department on a store-by-store basis. 

Nordstrom started testing displaying Pinterest items in its Seattle stores in March. Encouraged by those results, it began rolling out tests at other stores around the U.S. 

Galipeau said that there’s no rhyme or reason to what items blow up on Pinterest. 

“It really runs the gamut in terms of interesting and surprising things,” he said. “A cool aspect of Pinterest is that popular items are totally democratic.” 

The hottest categories are women’s shoes, dresses, and handbags. One of Nordstrom’s most popular items ever was a women’s swimsuit.  

The company plans to get feedback from customers and employees before expanding the test even further. 

Galipeau said the test could have important implications for how the retail industry uses social media. 

“We’re really viewing this as an interesting opportunity to understand if this way of promoting products can help drive results,” Galipeau said. “We can see how retail can leverage this data category.” 

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