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Is J.Crew's Pinterest Sneak Peak a Sign of the Way Catalogs Will Go?

August 28, 2013

On August 20th, J.Crew demonstrated its increasing confidence in the influence of the Pinterest social platform by posting a "Style Guide Sneak Peak" of its September fashions. And with the move, the retailer by all appearances showed considerable savvy in stirring waves across the social media waters.

Since J.Crew's September apparel didn't go on sale until the next day, the Pinterest board led with the following message: "Just for our friends on Pinterest, an exclusive first look at our September Style Guide. Love what you see? Our Very Personal Stylist team can help you pre-order the looks before they become available on Wednesday August 21. Call 800 261 7422 or email erica@jcrew.com."

Unlike its catalog, the J.Crew Pinterest board features images and brief descriptions only, e.g., "J.Crew Horsing around sweatshirt." The company pinned 55 images in all. The board has been successful, judging by stats displayed on the page — there are over 62,000 Pinterest followers. (By comparison, Gap's ongoing board has about 43,000 followers; Banana Republic, under 9,000.) Many of the J.Crew fashion images have been "repinned" hundreds of times on followers' boards. Fashion blogs and e-magazines eagerly picked up on the Sneak Peak. Glitter Guide, for example, devoted a page to it and tied in a promotional drawing for a $200 J.Crew store credit.

According to the style blog, Popsugar, J.Crew's move is representative of the desire of brands to interact directly with consumers in a more expedient and personal way than can be accomplished through traditional trade and consumer media. Reportedly, Oscar de la Renta revealed its entire Fall 2013 line on Instagram in late July while Juicy Couture made use of a Facebook microsite to leak its fall campaign.

For its part, Pinterest is working to make the platform more responsive to retailers' needs. This month, according to Internet Retailer, Pinterest announced the availability of price alerts that notify users via email when a retailer drops a price on an item pinned by the shopper.

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