Home Depot Is Building Out Visual Discovery and Shopping on Pinterest

Shoppable pins help consumers find product matches.

Home Depot has more than 100,000 shoppable products on Pinterest.
Home Depot

Home improvement retailer Home Depot and visual network Pinterest have partnered to expand Pinterest’s visual discovery feature—Shop the Look, with more than 100,000 shoppable products—to capitalize on consumer search behavior on the platform and overcome search engine shortcomings.

To shop a pin, users tap the white circle on a product to see similar, shoppable items, including vanities, faucets, lighting, textiles and décor.

“In the past, a user would go to Pinterest, find a room scene they liked and see an item—they really liked the table, but now what?” said Melanie Babcock, senior director of agile marketing and social media at Home Depot. “In order to find that table, they would have to go to another website and make a search describing that table. On Pinterest with Shop the Look, they’re taking all that extra work out. Customers can roll over hot spots and see an assortment of tables; hopefully, an exact match and others like it appear in the customer experience.”

A Pinterest rep said these pins have also seen a higher engagement rate than standard pins with users clicking through twice as much, but he declined to provide specifics.

Home Depot is now working with Pinterest to identify products in pins—whether they’re from Home Depot or not—“to help that customer experience go from inspiration to discovery to sale in one experience,” Babcock added.

Pinterest debuted Shop the Look in February 2017; the feature combines computer vision and human curation to make recommendations. At the time, Pinterest said visual search was one of its most-used features, with hundreds of millions of searches every month.

Since then, a rep said Pinterest has established partnerships with Curalate, Olapic and ShopStyle Collective to enable U.S. users to shop from brands like CB2, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Target and Wayfair.

The Internet has trained us to search with text, which works well when you have an idea of what you’re looking for. But search engines aren’t as great for more subjective questions like “What should I wear to work tomorrow?”

Pinterest said it’s “building a visual discovery engine that takes on where search left off—helping people discover their taste, style and ideas they love.” The result, the company said, is more personalized shopping and discovery.

Babcock said that Pinterest is ideal for Home Depot because “it’s a great place” for people to start home improvement projects “in a safe way.”

“Home Depot has expanded our offering to consumers from traditional do-it-yourself to … the home décor business,” she explained. “For us, our strategy with Pinterest was originally around … an introduction to do-it-yourself projects and has evolved to drive awareness around soft goods.”

At least in part, that’s because of the Home Depot’s December 2017 acquisition of home goods brand The Company Store.

“I have been Pinterest’s No. 1 advocate at Home Depot for a number of years,” Babcock said. “Shop the Look is the first time we’re able, as a retailer, to see the direct relationship between Pinterest and how it meets customers’ need [for] discovery, which is why we’re doubling down on multiple versions of types of ads and experiments with components.”

That also includes a video campaign, Built In Pins, which rolled out in August to illustrate what happens behind the scenes in the inspirational images commonly found on Pinterest.

These shoppable pins show the before, during and after of home improvement projects and feature how-to guides and tip sheets for the projects.

“Sometimes, when you’re a big company and have a campaign or message you want to send, you tend to create a creative strategy that is generic across multiple channels,” Babcock said. “In this case, we knew customers are going to Pinterest to seek out help around home décor and redoing rooms, and we wanted to build a strategy for the actual pins.”

Babock gave the example of transforming a 1978 kitchen to a 2018 kitchen, which she calls “a very daunting process.” “We came up with Built in Pins to show it’s not complicated, and you can take it on yourself to make those changes to those rooms in a video unit built inside a pin,” she said.