J Crew reveals new range on Pinterest

US fashion brand J Crew has this week revealed its September catalogue via picture-sharing social media website, Pinterest.

The site is becoming an increasingly popular customer engagement tool for retailers, particularly in the fashion sector, and the move by J Crew could start a chain of other companies launching new ranges via this platform.

With nearly 60,000 followers on Pinterest, J Crew clearly views the site as an ideal marketing vehicle, and it has this week been encouraging its fans to pre-order any fashion items before they went on sale on Wednesday.

"Just for our friends on Pinterest, an exclusive first look at our September Style Guide," the retailer told its followers via the social media site.

Lisa Bonczyk, associate director for sales and marketing at digital marketing specialists eDigitalResearch, told Essential Retail that fashion retailers are leading the way in terms of embracing Pinterest and achieving success through the channel.

"We've seen that once a retailer does engage with the platform they can gain followers very quickly," she explained.

"Fashion retailers in particular look to Pinterest because of the visual nature of the site, and I think the rise in popularity of this channel will continue."

The group published its Social Media Benchmark Retail study last week, which showed that Arcadia clothing brand Topman is the leading UK retailer on Pinterest, with at least 60,000 more followers than any of its retail rivals.

Net-a-Porter, Asos, Topshop, Boden, Harrods, Selfridges, Cath Kidston, River Island and Marks & Spencer made up the remainder of the top ten in terms of having the most Pinterest followers. Success among the fashion retail community does not seem to have transferred to the grocery sector yet, though, with none of the leading UK supermarkets operating a Pinterest page.

Bonczyk says it could be "a missed opportunity" for grocers to promote themselves online, especially as they frequently distribute recipe cards in-store - a process that would arguably fit neatly on the Pinterest platform.

J Crew's announcement this week may have kick-started a new method of selling products on social media, and we shall see if others follow suit in the coming months.