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Pinterest drove an unprecedented amount of traffic to retail sites in Q4 2013 achieving a 50% quarter-over-quarter increase in revenue-per-visit (RPV).

In fact, Pinterest has overtaken Facebook for UK referral revenue and is expected to do the same in the USA this year.

This should come as no surprise. The business case for retailers investing in Pinterest is well past the tipping point. With over 70m global users, Pinterest is now the third most popular social network.

Also, with the amount of Pinterest Pin it buttons overtaking the amount of Facebook Likes on product pages, retailers are realising that Pinterest is a key way to drive sales

The advantages of Pinterest:

Pinterest is by its very nature a visual medium. Everything you post is an image and therefore an immediate way to grab the attention.

Pinterest is extraordinarily sticky, users spend more than an hour and a half on the site every month, sharing and resharing content.

Pinterest is basically a viral marketing machine. Over 80% of content consists of repins. Users actively promote your brand for you. In fact 70% of brand engagement on Pinterest is generated by users themselves, not brands.

Let’s take a look at the top 10 UK retailers, in terms of turnover in 2013, to see how their Pinterest profiles compare.


With 2,858 followers, it’s far from the most populace of Tesco’s social channels, but there’s a lot of good stuff on offer here. It’s a well maintained profile, with 54 boards and 2,090 bins.

Tesco’s Health & Wellbeing board is a prolific collection, highlighting brightly coloured graphics promoting health tips. It’s not as ‘doctor’s waiting room’ as you might expect.

There are also lots of topical boards on offer, the Chinese New Year being of particularly vivid note. There’s a well stocked How-to-Guide board and hundreds of different recipes spread across various themed food boards.

Tesco is taking full advantage of the new ‘Search Recipes’ feature within the Pinterest search field.


Again, Sainsbury’s has a fairly modest following of 2,122, but then it’s not exactly the most inspiring profile. 

With multiple boards highlighting its clothing range ‘Tu’, with only a handful of basic product images in each, this is nothing more than an online catalogue. Although each product image does click-through to the corresponding landing page on its ecommerce site.

Further down the homepage however, Sainsbury’s has curated a board of its own vintage products.

This is a nice contrast with the various recipe boards and collections of own brand clothing. There should be more of it.


Falling a long way behind, with just 467 followers, Asda nonetheless presents a bright and attractive collection of boards well stocked with pins, although there are only 15 of them.

Asda has also taken the curative aspect of Pinterest and run with it. Most of the images found in its boards are repins from other sources. This makes Asda a much more appealing follow than its competition.


The only excuse for not filling up an entire screen with eight boards immediately is that you joined Pinterest today and are halfway through doing it now. As you can see Morrisons has been on Pinterest since at least Christmas, so really there’s no excuse.

Morrisons has recently launched an ecommerce site and according to David Moth’s article Morrisons’ ecommerce store: is it any good? it isn’t. Morrisons seems to be struggling with the online side of its business.

Marks and Spencer 

Marks and Spencer is nailing Pinterest, with 10,080 followers having access to 67 boards and 2,010 pins, M&S presents a masterclass in running a Pinterest page.

Topical boards at the front, with Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year. A strong mixture of food and fashion. Great mixture of images, photography and graphics to keep things interesting.

M&S also has an excellent grasp of mixing up the pinning of its own products with repins from other sources.

This is from the Valentine’s Day board.

John Lewis

John Lewis has a relatively high 5,085 followers. Although this is only high compared to the other retailers on this list.

It’s quite heavy on advertising its own products, but they are themed very well. Here’s the brilliant Great Gatsby inspired board.

Again, more work could be done on the curation side of things.

The Co-operative Food 

Co-op isn’t doing too successfully on Pinterest, with only 580 followers, a handful of boards and not too many pins spread amongst each one.

The lack of update to its monthly recipe series since December seem a little worrying. 

I do like the way Co-op publicises its magazine using a separate board for each issue, highlighting some of the features and photography, this could certainly help shift a few copies of the magazine.


Boots has a fairly low following, and it doesn’t have the most prolific eye for creating its own boards.

Most of the boards are half finished and they mainly consist of Boots' own products.

There is a stab at a How-to Beauty board, but with only seven examples, it seems quite empty.  


Argos is spoiling its 1,860 followers with an inspiring Pinterest homepage full of colour and a variety of subject matters.

The main positive about the Argos Pinterest page is that rather than just replicating the product catalogue online, it’s curated much more interesting images and photography to show off its available products.

The product images also click-through directly to the shopping basket on the Argos ecommerce site.

The negative is that there is very little, in fact nothing, that I can see repinned from other profiles. It’s not the most engaging of profiles.


B&Q runs a varied Pinterest page, although with 2,420 followers to keep engaged it could stand to be a little more prolific.

That being said, the profile is regularly maintained, with colour of the month boards and monthly pin-it-to-win-it competitions.

Here’s B&Q’s latest competition.

One of the only examples of engaging followers with a repin competition that I have seen in the top 10 of UK retailers.

For more articles on Pinterest for retail, check out how small businesses can make the most of Pinterest and five examples of brands nailing Pinterest.

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 12 February, 2014 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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Comments (2)



You missed out several Tesco profiles including Tesco Food, Beauty, Opticians and Finest.

over 2 years ago



I think this is a comprehensive list of the large retailers on Pinterest but not the best. These guys are just pinning their products so other more creative linnets can re-pin. I can't say that I've been inspired enough by any of them to follow them. So I guess what they are doing is good fire commerce but not so good for brand

over 2 years ago

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