'Citizen Commerce' Site Highlights Products with Meaning

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Billing itself as the "citizen commerce" site of record, The Grommet is an Internet destination that is equal parts curated online marketplace and product discovery portal.

Its goal is to "bring meaningful products to market, make it easy for [consumers] to get the whole story, and to purchase products that align with their values," says Tori Tait, senior community manager for The Grommet. For every 150 pitches The Grommet receives, only one product is selected and, ultimately, featured on-site per day for purchase.

Because the site seeks to share products in a social and community-minded manner, each product launch is accompanied by a video featuring a first-person account of the product story, produced by its creator or Grommet curators.

The Grommet has several ways of searching for and discovering products that fit the value of social consciousness it promotes. Among them are hosting a visual Citizens' Gallery for submissions, sending out curators across the country, and using photo-sharing site Pinterest to see what resonates with customers.

Using advanced image analytics and marketing platform provider Curalate, The Grommet has been able to tap into data that would otherwise have been tedious and inconsistent to measure. "Without Curalate, you could go into Google Analytics and see referral links and click on them," Tait says, "but every time someone pinned an image or every time someone clicked back," it was difficult to tell whether it was a new referral.

With close to 40 boards on its Pinterest page, The Grommet needed a way to measure what products were obtaining the most pins across multiple boards and how that activity contributed to site traffic. In November, the company ran a two-week promotion on Pinterest, calling customers to pin a specific image promoting the social media contest for the chance to win a $500 gift credit for the site.

Using Curalate, The Grommet saw site traffic coming from Pinterest increase by 140 percent compared to the period prior to the promotion. The Grommet also saw its Pinterest following grow 14.4 percent during this time. Curalate helped the site see how customers were responding to images and content and alter the presentation of products accordingly.

"At the end of the day, we were able to see if [contest participants] just pinned the first item they saw on a page or if they dug into our catalog," Tait says. "We were able to collect information like 'This selection of products were the most pinned products people said they wanted to own.'" As a result, The Grommet could redesign its product category pages and catalogs with the most pertinent content displayed prominently, Tait notes.

Because Curalate combines visual analytics of products with social media response capabilities, such as replying to a tweet about content that originated from Pinterest right from the Curalate platform, sites like The Grommet can begin to weave more traditional social media marketing initiatives with newer visual platforms.

At present, The Grommet is "neck and neck" on Facebook and Pinterest in terms of customer interest, but Tait says she expects Pinterest to overtake Facebook this year in customer engagement. "We translate well into Pinterest," she says. "It's the perfect channel to amplify from a marketing standpoint, and it's a great learning and listening tool. It feels like a natural fit for us."

The Payoff

Using Pinterest and marketing solution Curalate, The Grommet has:

  • seen site traffic coming from Pinterest increase by 140 percent compared to the period prior to running a promotion with Curalate;
  • seen its Pinterest following grow 14.4 percent throughout the duration of a two-week promotion; and
  • been able to change product category content according to consumers' engagement levels.

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