Why Pine for the Pinterest Consumer? They're Worth More

Source: wayfair.com

Retailers may want to take a hard look at online sharing site Pinterest if they aren't already doing so.

Evidence continues to suggests that the social media website is a good way to generate customer leads. That's certainly is the experience Wayfair, an ecommerce company that sells home furnishings, is having.

Wayfair CEO Niraj Shah said his company has found that customers that come to its website from Pinterest have a 70 percent larger ticket overall than those that come from other social media sites.

"The social channel has a higher average order size," Shah told CNBC. He suspects that when customers come to Wayfair from social media sites they are already "inspired" to make a purchase.

He suspects that shoppers referred to Wayfair from Pinterest buy more because they may have already formed an emotional connection to the product compared with other shoppers.

"It's about the pictures," he said. "You have decided you like it before you know what it costs. The more you decide you love it, the more you are going to be willing to stretch to buy it."

Shah said Pinterest is "exploding," with traffic coming from Pinterest growing substantially in the first two months of the year, and he expects it to continue to ramp up in the months ahead.

Studies have shown that there is still plenty of room for Pinterest to grow. Online price comparison website PriceGrabberdid a survey of 4,851 U.S. online consumers between March 13 and 26 and found that 58 percent of consumers are not yet on Pinterest, and about a third didn't even know that it was.

Wayfair, Pinterest
Source: pinterest.com
Wayfair, Pinterest

But even this study suggests that retailers should watch the site closely. About 21 percent of those surveyed by PriceGrabber who had Pinterest accounts had purchased a product strictly after seeing it on Pinterest.

Of course, the strategy may work better for certain categories than for others. Pricegrabber asked which types of products the consumers were buying, and it broke down like this: 33 percent said food and cooking; 32 percent said fashion and clothing; 30 percent said home decorating, and 26 percent said crafts.

This suggests it may be a more effective strategy for companies such as Williams-Sonoma , Kraft and Nordstrom's than for those in other retail sectors.

Companies are still feeling their way around the site, and experimenting with different strategies. For example, Wayfair will make Pinterest boards showing how some products fit together, which is a good way for shoppers to get decorating ideas.

But the company also has boards that focus more on decorating tips in general and are less overtly product-focused.

Questions? Comments? Email us at consumernation@cnbc.com. Follow Christina Cheddar Berk on Twitter @ccheddarberk.