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Marshalls surprises customers with curated gifts inspired by their Pinterest boards

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September 23, 2016

The retailer aims to take advantage of Pinterest's unique opportunities

The retailer aims to take advantage of Pinterest’s unique opportunities

Marshalls is making some of its customers’ Pinterest boards come to life this fall with surprise packages delivered to consumers’ homes featuring gifts inspired by items they have pinned on Pinterest as part of the retailer’s Pin Pals campaign.

Marshalls is seeking to capitalize on Pinterest’s status as a social network that people turn to for tracking products and projects they want for their own homes. By offering surprise fulfillments on those Pinterest boards, Marshalls is encouraging further use of the Pinterest platform while raising the profile of its own products.

“Pinterest, with its 100 million active users, the bulk of which are women, offers a great deal of unique opportunities to brands that other social media platforms do not when it comes to promoting fashion and home design,” said Marci Troutman, founder and CEO of SiteMinis.  “Users will get lost browsing pins that take them to ideas and products they may never have dreamt of using.” 

Surprise gifts
Pin Pals brings surprise boxes of Marshalls gifts curated by beauty and style experts and inspired by a consumer’s Pinterest board.

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Pinterest has more than 100 million active users

Each gift will be delivered unannounced to customers who pin certain items from Marshalls’ Pin Pals board on Pinterest. Winners will be chosen randomly from the entries and style experts will curate a box of gifts for them based on their pins.

To help launch the campaign, Marshalls received help from Mr. Kate, a popular fashion and style YouTube star, to deliver the first box of surprise Marshalls Pin Pals gifts to a fashion student in Los Angeles.

The surprise gifts were delivered and recorded on Mr. Kate’s YouTube channel. The video of the first winner receiving her gift will be posted on Mr. Kate’s channel on September 24.

Marshalls is partnering with other popular fashion bloggers, YouTube stars and style experts to create and deliver the rest of the surprise packages, hoping that those content creators’ built-in audiences will drive more Pinterest use and Marshalls purchases.

Pin it
Pinterest, as a social media platform where consumers explicitly catalog what products or kinds of products they like, is a potent platform for marketers.

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The first winner will have a recording of his or her delivery uploaded to YouTube

Marshalls is not the first to make use of the user-generated data from Pinterest as a marketing tool. Others have leveraged that data to improve their ad memorability.

For example, Old El Paso used Pinterest’s promoted video feature to create short video ads that were four times as memorable as standard mobile ads (see story).

Pinterest can be useful to more than just retail, however. Financial services can also make use of the data created by Pinterest users to help target their advertisements.

PNC Bank recently tapped Pinterest data for users who were interested in budgeting or financial advice (see story).

Marshalls is only the latest in the string of marketers and brands that are taking advantage of Pinterest’s unique affordances.

“Retailers, if they are using social media the way they should be, are engaging with these users to create an online showroom that can expand and open up in a way not afforded by the other social media outlets,” Ms. Troutman said. “This can grow their business exponentially if they can ramp up their loyal viewers and offer items in the showroom that are available for purchase either online or in a bricks and mortar.”

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Danny Parisi is staff writer on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York. Reach him at danny@napean.com.

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