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Target's Pinterest tie-in is just the beginning: Pro

Thursday, 13 Feb 2014 | 12:58 PM ET

Pinterest lovers, rejoice.

Following Target's announcement this week that it is teaming up with three top pinners from the social media site to create exclusive party collections, experts say shoppers can expect more retailers to follow suit.

"I think that's a pretty easy prediction to make," said Ken Madden, head of digital at Shoptology, which powers websites for more than 80,000 retailers.

Source: Pinterest

Although Pinterest is younger than most of its social media peers, the site's referral traffic is already equal to that of Twitter, according to research from Shopify. Further, its users are 10 percent more likely to buy than people visiting retail pages from other social sites.

(Read more: Twitter tests a new look)

That's a step toward tying e-commerce sales to social media, a practice that has been slow to take off.

Because it's comfortable with experimenting, Target has been a pioneering retailer in the social sphere, experts said. The company promotes gift cards on Facebook, encouraging users to give their friends Target credit on their birthdays, and operates the Cartwheel couponing app. In December, it launched The Awesome Shop, where it aggregated the most-pinned items from Target.com.

That initiative was in a way a precursor to the new collaboration, Madden said. But the latest iteration should prove more successful, as it's better curated—bedding won't be positioned next to bathing suits, for example—and has a central voice.

(Read more: Shoppers less wary of retail spying)

"Today's top pinners are truly tastemakers when it comes to style and design, and we're excited to bring their inspiration to life," said Target spokeswoman Angie Thompson.

Just looking at the numbers indicates that the collaboration could have a significant impact on Target's social presence. According to comScore, Pinterest had 52.2 million unique visitors in December; the three pinners have more than 13.6 million, 8.3 million and 2.6 million Pinterest followers, respectively. Target's following on the network is about 145,000.

Shoppers returning to 'bricks and mortar': Pro
Sarah Quinlan, group head and senior vice president of MasterCard Advisors, says that although online sales continue to grow, consumers are also returning to physical stores in the U.K.

But it's not all about followers. Paying attention to the type of items consumers are pinning also helps the company from a merchandising perspective and better gauge which products will be popular, Madden said.

Target has been successful with designer collaborations, having launched more than 100 partnerships since 1999. Those include a 2011 deal with the Italian knitwear maker Missoni, which prompted such heavy demand that the retailer's site crashed.

(Read more: Target could face $1.1B in data-breach fines: Pro)

The new campaign should excite shoppers in a different way, Madden said.

"Now they're taking the everyday person," he said, "and a Target shopper could potentially be the next curator."

—By CNBC's Krystina Gustafson. Follow her on Twitter @KrystinaGustafs.

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