Here's How Zappos' Huge Bet On Pinterest Actually Works

PinPointing ScreengrabZappos’ PinPointing site.

Photo: PinPointing, Amazon’s online shoe store, recently launched a site called PinPointing, in an unofficial partnership with Pinterest.While Pinterest is essentially a gigantic mall for window-shoppers, PinPointing is a complex, interactive e-commerce experiment that Zappos hopes will drive Pinterest web traffic to the Zappos website.

The app was created by Zappos labs in San Francisco and adds a new layer of interactivity to Pinterest.

PinPointing allows people to sift through’s inventory based on a user’s chosen Pinterest boards, acting as a sort of virtual personal shopper.

Zappos claims that its users are at least 13 times more likely to share a purchase on Pinterest than on Twitter or Facebook. But it hasn’t been a complete success.

1. Sign up for a Pinterest account

Before using PinPointing, first sign up for a Pinterest account. Note, you do not technically need a Pinterest account, but once you sign up, even if you've never pinned a single picture in your entire life, you can search for friends', celebrities' and brands' pages that you might want to model your purchases on.

2. Search PinPointing

Next begin searching PinPointing. Copy a Pinterest username or brand into the PinPointing search field. Quick tip: If you are new to Pinterest and can't find the username, look at the navigation bar in your browser (e.g. copy the highlighted section into the PinPointing search field.

3. Wait patiently as it tabulates

Click the search button and PinPointing will begin matching the user's pins to's inventory.

4. Scroll through PinPointing's findings

At this point, the program has developed a series of product options for you that are based on the Pinterest tastes of the person or brand you searched. Here we searched Kate Spade, and based on the brand's posts, PinPointing has recommended a series of items within the categories: stripes, clutches, Josie Jeans, and the colour blue.

5. Browse the Zappos selections

Now you can begin browsing your personal Zappos store that PinPointing created. Click on the product thumbnail for a larger image. From here you can either 'Pin It' to your own Pinterest boards, view it on the Zappos website, or move on to the next item.

Note the virtuous circle: Zappos uses Pinterest to drive traffic from Pinterest to Zappos, and then uses Zappos purchases to drive the same traffic back to Pinterest, where users will (hopefully) promote their purchases.

6. Keep looking

If nothing that PinPointing has pulled for you is exactly what you want, hit the small 'move' button at the bottom of a category column, and the app will populate different items within the same parameters.

7. It's time to buy something

Click the link to the Zappos site at the bottom of the pop-up image and you will then be redirected to the product page where you can purchase it directly from Zappos.

8. Finding Zappos

And, if at any point, you simply want to search the main Zappos page, you can look to the top of the screen, click the Zappos logo, and a Zappos search field will appear. From here, you can also keep an eye on your shopping cart, as well as complete your purchase.

9. Do another search

Need recommendations of other, but similar, pinners to model your wardrobe after? Look here for a list of users the current pinner follows. Click on the icon, and PinPointing will pull an entirely new product list based on the new user's preferences.

10. The results: Pinterest is useful, but not as powerful, as Twitter

Speaking of marketing that targets women, see how Bic is charging more for girls' pens ...

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