Marketing channels are like rooms in a house: Each one has its own function and purpose; yet they all flow together to provide a unified structure. Too often, social media is treated like the game room: a fun place to engage, but not essential. However, teen home furnishings brand Pottery Barn Teen (PBteen) proved that the channel can be a cornerstone in generating revenue.
Picturing a new approach
Marketers for the teen home furnishings brand saw an opportunity to use its highly visual social presence to drive engagement and sales from its social channels. So, last December PBteen implemented Curalate’s visual commerce platform to support those efforts. Allyson Buscemi, social media manager for PBteen, says that the platform’s shoppable Instagram solution Like2Buy was one of the tools that initially attracted her team. Today the home furnishings company uses the tool to create a shoppable gallery page of its user-generated Instagram posts. Buscemi and her team can link each product featured in the photos to a specific URL, and then consumers can click on the pictured items to shop their product pages on PBteen’s website. PBteen includes the link to its shoppable gallery in its Instagram bio.
“Any time we put products across our social media [we] try [to] drive traffic and sales,” she says. “With the implementation of Like2Buy, we saw a huge improvement in those numbers.”
After seeing success with Like2Buy and implementing other Curalate solutions, such as its Pinterest analytics capabilities and user-generated content gallery Fanreel, PBteen decided to adopt Curalate’s latest tool, Curalate Reveal, this past September.
Moving from blog to buy
Curalate Reveal is a tool that allows consumers to shop images featured in a blog post. As with Like2Buy, PBteen’s marketers can upload images to Curalate’s platform and then tag the products featured in them with different URLs. Then, the platform produces a code, which PBteen’s marketers can copy and paste into their blog’s back end. Consumers who then visit the blog can click on one of the numbered products to shop that item on PBteen’s website.
“The blog space really hasn’t received that much innovation in the last decade or so,” says Curalate’s CMO Matt Langie. “What we’ve done is made it easy for consumers to browse the beautiful product images on a blog site, roll their mouse over that image, reveal the products that are within [those] pictures, and then click on them to directly shop. It’s a really beautiful experience, and it’s intuitive and seamless for the consumer.”
PBteen’s goals for the platform, according to Buscemi, are to drive click-throughs to its site and, ultimately, to increase sales. Prior to implementing Curalate Reveal, PBteen’s marketers would try to achieve these goals by using hyperlinks on its blog posts; however, Buscemi says that these methods were fruitless.
“Our consumer is very, very visual,” she says. “Previously on our blog we would be linking all of our products through hyperlinks. As you can imagine, it was just a lot of links and word forums. Not many people clicked on it.”
Most of the shoppable photos featured in PBteen’s blog posts are user-generated images—which PBteen asks permission to use. Buscemi says leveraging consumers’ photos, versus PBteen’s own images, highlights the customer and allows the brand’s marketers to see shoppers’ different styling aesthetics. Plus, Langie says incorporating customers’ real photos brings a sense of authenticity to the brand.
“Consumers want to see what those products will look like in their home,” Buscemi notes. “How is it more achievable? All of our photos, while they’re beautiful, are very aspirational and not as realistic as a user-generated photo is.”
To encourage consumers to share their content, PBteen uses a branded hashtag, #MyPBteen; Buscemi advises other marketers to do the same. “As a marketer, I think it’s important to have a dedicated hashtag associated with your brand so you can start generating these user-generated photos and seeing so much great engagement with consumers who are really loving your brand and want to show that they love your brand,” she says. “They just need to know how.”
Although PBteen has only used Curalate Reveal for a few months, Buscemi says that the brand’s blog posts are already seeing “dramatically higher” click-through rates.
As for future endeavors, Buscemi says that PBteen plans to work with influencers this holiday season to make their blog posts shoppable and drive traffic back to PBteen’s website. “Social is no longer about just the vanity metrics of likes and followers,” Langie says. “It now can be [about] business-driven metrics [such as] engagement, traffic, [and,] ultimately, revenue.”
It looks like there’s room for social in marketers’ bottom-line strategies after all.
Photo sources: PBteen’s Like2Buy gallery and The StyleHouse blog