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Why Pinterest will play a big role for some retailers this Halloween

With approximately one-quarter of millennials using Pinterest for Halloween costume inspiration and a host of new commerce-driven capabilities now available, the social media site should be playing a big part in retailers’ mobile outreach this month.

Halloween is an increasingly important retail holiday and with 24.9 percent of 18-24 year olds and 23.7 percent of 25-34 year olds using the Pinterest for costume inspiration, according to recent research from the National Retail Federation, retailers clearly need to be paying attention to it. At the same time, Pinterest recently partnered with new commerce platforms to double the number of items users can purchase from the site since first introducing buyable pins in June.

“Pinterest has become a great tool for retailers, and Halloween is a perfect opportunity to drive sales related to the holiday,” said Carrie Middlemiss, U.S. director of marketing at Metia, Seattle. “Costume, decoration and crafts retailers all have the types of items that the audience on Pinterest looks for – especially around holidays.

“Retailers can pin anything from costumes to arts and crafts ideas to Halloween decorations they are selling. Other things that could be pinned are coupons, specialty candy and even promotions of events that might be going on at a local store.”

Spooky sales
For retailers looking to highlight costumes, candy and art supplies for DIY projects, Pinterest can provide the ideal combination of advertising and mcommerce.

Buyable pins have been found to be particularly attractive to mobile users, who are twice as likely to take an action because of a pin if it is buyable, according to research from Shopify.

The National Retail Federation’s 2015 Halloween Consumer Spending Survey found that 157 million Americans plan to celebrate the holiday this year. It is an ideal opportunity for retailers to highlight their best Halloween merchandise and use the holiday to connect with consumers.

Pinterest, which has about 100 million monthly active users, is especially popular as a source of inspiration for costume ideas, as the platform’s dedication to DIY strategies makes it a perfect source for creative consumers. According to the NRF survey, approximately 13 percent of respondents will turn to Pinterest for ideas while crafting their costumes this October.

“Pinterest users are highly engaged and creative and are constantly seeking to be inspired by branded content, so it makes them a particularly appealing audience to marketers,” said Toni Box, senior director of social media & content services at PM Digital, New York. “More specifically, millennials are very keen to Pinterest and use it as a platform for creative exploration and inspiration.

“It’s a place for them to share their favorite things, while also seeking out the best products and solutions.”

While retailers such as Party City and Walmart have created unique Halloween Pinterest boards that directly market costumes and candy, there are a number of successful ways that brands can leverage Pinterest to drive sales. Publications including Martha Stewart Living and O, The Oprah Magazine have shared recipes and craft ideas for consumers to make at home.

“Retailers have a lot of options, because Pinterest has emerged as a natural shopping and browsing environment for its users,” said Don Mathis, chief executive officer of Kinetic Social, New York. “One approach retailers may employ is driving users to costume boards within Pinterest, and then making it easy for the users to go from that board toward a costume purchase once they’ve decided.”

Because Halloween costumes often require creativity and crafty construction, the holiday is an ideal opportunity for retailers to take advantage of the platform.

New and improved
There are a number of reasons why Pinterest may be particularly popular with consumers this Halloween season.

Pinterest has recently been expanding its presence as an ecommerce platform. For example, it moved further into the retail landscape with a new feature for its iOS application that allows users to search for buyable pins, competing with major mobile commerce apps such as Amazon and Etsy.

The new feature allows Pinterest users on iOS to search for specific products to buy. The addition to the app brings the social platform into the forefront of mobile commerce, and gives Amazon and Etsy a significant competitor in the space.

Furthermore, Pinterest has made it easier for brands to connect with consumers in new ways. For example, the platform’s update for sponsored pins gives brands the tools to generate higher sales by incorporating past purchasing history to serve more relevant content to consumers.

Along with the social media platform’s recent privacy updates, Pinterest introduced better aimed sponsored posts for marketers that take into account users’ past transaction history.  The social media site now generates sponsored posts that coincide with items that individual consumers have purchased in the past.

These improvements to the platform will make it easier for retailers and consumers to connect this Halloween. Whether they are searching for costume inspiration or the perfect pumpkin pie recipe, Pinterest allows consumers to browse and buy.

“While other social media platforms are used for a variety of different reasons, Pinterest is the only platform dedicated to creative ideas,” Ms. Middlemiss said. “From art to clothing, and DIY to workouts, it’s all about visually discovering new things that are of interest to or inspire you, with an easy way to bookmark and save for the future.”