Social shopping platform Nuji has reported a 730% growth in click throughs to retail sites, and a 167% increase in sales attributed to those clicks since it began offering discounts as an incentive for sharing content.

The London-based start-up bills itself as a competitor to Pinterest, and allows users to follow others with a similar fashion sense to help discover items from around the web.

But instead of ‘pinning’ images, Nuji’s users ‘tag’ products they like.

Users have already saved or ‘tagged’ over 300,000 products from over 15,000 stores, with a 35% growth month-on-month.

In January the fledgling social shopping network began incentivising users by offering six points for each product they tagged, and a further 10 points if someone else then retagged it.

Incremental discounts are awarded with up to 20% off if a user earns 300 points in a month. So far 50 smaller retailers have signed up to the scheme, with 60 more ready to join.  

Nuji Loyalty Mechanic from Nuji on Vimeo.

Co-founder Dean Fankhauser said Nuji introduced the ‘loyalty mechanic’ after discussions with retailers, who wanted to drive sales rather than just shares.

We want to reward people for sharing items and engaging with their favourite stores, though it’s what we do with this data that’s going to be really powerful.”

Exactly what Nuji is planning remains to be seen, but the site’s growth is indicative of what may become a trend for companies to try and capitalise on the Pinterest phenomenon. Lady Gaga’s community venture also clearly takes inspiration from the same place.

But ultimately, Nuji’s sudden growth boils down to the fact that for consumers, brand engagement on social media is all about earning discounts.

We reported on a survey last year which showed that 67% of consumers engage with brands on social media because they expect to receive exclusive offers, while a separate study from LinkShare found that 56% of people would buy from an unfamiliar brand if offered the right deal at the right time.

Swedish Facebook app Wrapp, which launched in the UK on Monday, is also trying to capitalise on the hunger for discounts by offering free gift cards.

Nuji is yet another company aiming to leverage the popularity of the discount market, it’s just chosen Pinterest as inspiration for how this is delivered.

But since Pinterest has so much momentum, it seems unlikley that Nuji will be able to usurp it – providing copyright issues don’t rear their ugly head.