Pinterest Now Overshadowing Facebook for Shopping, Panel Says

A social media strategy today must go beyond Facebook, leaders from top retail companies said at the first annual Fashion Digital New York conference on Oct. 10 in New York City at the McGraw-Hill Building.

“If we were here a year ago, we would have been talking about Facebook, but most of us know F-commerce hasn’t been as successful as we thought it would be,” said Veronika Sonsev, CEO of retail tech startup inSparq.

While some bigger brands such as Macy’s have had success marketing their products through Facebook, other companies have commented that the site makes it difficult to separate the consumer who wants to shop from the user who simply wants to chat with friends.

Sonsev stated that many brands have removed their Facebook sites, replacing F-commerce marketing with Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, and m-commerce.

“You don’t have to utilize every platform, but you have to figure out what’s right for your brand,” said Lauren Sherman, executive digital editor of Luckymag.com.

It’s no doubt that the content sharing service Pinterest has gained tremendous popularity this year, attracting both big and small retailers. A re-pin notifies brands what consumers want and like, a marketing tactic Facebook is trying to capitalize on with its new want and collect buttons. “Pinterest is a visual Google. It’s the most powerful tool in commerce,” said Daniella Yacobovsky, cofounder of online jewelry retailer Bauble Bar, said.

Retailers agreed that smartphones will continue to shape the future of commerce.

“Twenty percent of our traffic is from mobile. There is a ton of opportunity in the mobile space,” said Brian Sugar, CEO of Sugar Inc.

However, data shows that consumers are still hesitant to purchase through m-commerce; rather, they prefer to use their smartphones like modern-day window-shoppers.  

“When you’re on the go, mobile commerce lets you browse and add it to your list to buy later,” said Chris Morton, CEO of social shopping site Lyst.

Regardless of the medium, speakers agreed that since fashion is a social ideal, retailers must use technology to tell a brand’s story and personalize the shopping experience.

“Today’s online retail sphere is a combination of content and commerce,” added Greg Selkoe, founder of online clothing and accessories retailer Karmaloop. Selkoe noted that the decision to add content, including music videos and digital blogs, to his retail site was a major factor in the brand’s success.  

“Social has a big place in commerce. I witness it every day,” said Katherine Crane, advertising director of community shopping site Polyvore.

“Fashion will always be a conversation starter,” said Jennifer Hyman, cofounder of Rent the Runway. “People feel comfortable going up to each other and saying, ‘I love your outfit. Where did you buy it?’”