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Zappos Tries To Cash In On Pinterest

Zappos and Pinterest combine e-commerce and social media with PinPointing. Will it stick?

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A new service from online fashion retailer Zappos taps into Pinterest's flair for showcasing products and the way in which its users may influence each other's buying decisions. But while interest in Pinterest is growing, other social networks, including Facebook and Twitter, are generating more revenue at this time.

Zappos has been known for setting the bar high in the areas of customer service and social media. Now the online retailer is looking to raise the social buying bar with a new service that recommends purchases based on what users post on the "inspiration" board site.

Amazon.com's Zappos has developed a platform called PinPointing, according to a story at Bloomberg.com. From the site, users will get suggestions based on what they and other Pinterest users have pinned. The idea is that this will make it easier for users to buy products from Zappos, and will give Zappos additional exposure as more than just an online shoe store.

Experian said in April that Pinterest was the third-largest social network, behind Facebook and Twitter, in terms of visits. Pinterest is a virtual bulletin board site on which users "pin" images and other items of interest. An increasing number of sites have added "Pin It" buttons, and Pinterest has steadily been gaining followers and interest. Common boards include "Stuff I Love" and "Recipes I Want To Try." The site is especially popular with younger, female users.

[ Social isn't solely the purview of marketing. Learn 10 Social Lessons IT Should Teach. ]

According to the Bloomberg story, Zappos got approval from Pinterest for PinPointing, which was developed by Zappos Labs, but the companies have not officially partnered on the project.

However, Zappos Labs told Bloomberg that while Pinterest users are far more likely to share a purchase than Twitter or Facebook users, the shared Pinterest items generate less revenue than shared items on Twitter or Facebook. Reporting on an interview with Will Young, director of Zappos Labs, Bloomberg reported "posts on Twitter brought in an average of $33.66 an order; Facebook posts, $2.08 per order; and Pinterest posts, 75 cents on average."

With that said, Zappos is on the right track, said R "Ray" Wang, principal analyst and CEO, Constellation Research.

"It's a sign of things to come," said Wang, Constellation's principal analyst and CEO. "Visuals are now key to the social experience. Pinterest has pioneered the way, and Zappos is making the right moves. When your product has become a verb, awareness is not the issue. 'I've pinned it on Zappos' is quite the theme."

Will Zappos be on the forefront of the "frictionless buying experience" with its PinPointing site? Is your company using Pinterest as a way to generate interest, sales or both? We welcome your comments below.

Follow Deb Donston-Miller on Pinterest at pinterest.com/ddonstonmiller and see what birds have come to her bird feeder. You can also follow her on Twitter at @debdonston.

Social media make the customer more powerful than ever. Here's how to listen and react. Also in the new, all-digital The Customer Really Comes First issue of The BrainYard: The right tools can help smooth over the rough edges in your social business architecture. (Free registration required.)

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