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If you thought you had all your social commerce bases covered, you might be in for a surprise.

Launched in 2007, Polyvore has gradually emerged as one of the most effective social platforms for ecommerce sites to drive high-value traffic and sales from.

Focusing on fashion and home décor, the community powered social network allows you to create collections and collages called “sets”. These sets can be made up of products from online stores around the web – including your own.

Products can be mixed and matched using Polyvore's visual set creation tool to create elaborate or simple designs, with each product presenting pricing, details and origin when hovered over.

The aim for fashion lovers and shoppers is to find new styles and trends in action from different brands across the world, and perhaps discover a bargain or two in the process.

Polyvore's numbers are also worth noting. The platform is home to over 80 million shoppable products, with users creating 4 million new sets every month. 

In other words, it's an engaged community of curators and shoppers and source of traffic and sales you can no longer afford to ignore. 

The Polyvore Factor

Alongside social networks like Facebook and Twitter, Polyvore is becoming something of a social commerce powerhouse in its own right – particularly when it comes to order values.

Polyvore recently raised a few eyebrows in our social commerce infographic, which uncovered which social media platforms drive the most sales.

With an impressive average order value of $66.75, Polyvore trumped every other social platform in the study, including Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. Despite all of those networks being supremely popular, it seems that none of them quite have the Polyvore factor.

So, with Polyvore proving its value (quite literally) over its social networking rivals, ecommerce merchants everywhere owe it to themselves to pay it some more attention.

Getting Started with Polyvore

If your store isn't already represented on Polyvore, your first step towards more social commerce success is to become a member and then cover the basics.

Signing up

Thankfully, this part is a piece of cake.

To sign up, simply head over to the Polyvore homepage, and select your sign up preference. You can sign up via Facebook, Twitter or an email address if you like to keep things separate.

The sign up process also gives you the option to change your username and find friends on Polyvore via Facebook and Twitter.

Branding

Just like on any other social network, Polyvore can be used by your brand as a direct marketing arm.

Polyvore gives you the option to display your brand logo as an avatar, and also enables you to include a link to your store from your profile page.

Both of these options, along with other settings, can be found by clicking the “Edit Profile” button your Polyvore profile page.

Adding your Products

In order to start showcasing your wares, you'll need to add your products to your Polyvore profile.

To do this, a simple browser bookmark called “Clipper” needs to be installed.

The bookmark can be installed via the Polyvore Clipper page, by simply dragging and dropping the link provided on to your browser toolbar.

After installing Clipper to your toolbar, you're all ready to start adding products from your store.

Simply head over to one of your product pages, and click the Clipper toolbar button – similar to how you would pin something to Pinterest.

Polyvore then does the hard work automatically, by presenting you with a window which houses all the product images found on your product page, along with the product name and price.

All you need to do is select the images you want, add some tags, and then hit “Like”. The product in question will then be saved to your profile, ready to be seen by shoppers and used in sets.

Creating Sets

Here's where you can exercise some creativity.

Sets are collages which you can create within the Polyvore platform. You can use products from your store, products from other users, products you find around the Internet, or even a mixture of all three.

By clicking the “Create” button on the Polyvore menu, you can get straight into the surprisingly fun visual editor.

Using the editor, you can drag-and-drop default images, products from around Polyvore and most importantly, your very own imported products.

Images can be resized, rotated, magnified and more, enabling you to seriously flex your creative muscles in order to present your products beautifully.

The end is a collage which can represent living spaces, mixed and matched digital displays, and far more.

Users who come across your set can then hover over items within the collage which catch their eye, leading them right back to your store.

How to Use Polyvore to Drive Sales

According to our social commerce infographic, on top of having an exceedingly high average order value, Polyvore also boasts a conversion rate of 0.58%, which is a shade better than Pinterest, LinkedIn and Reddit.

So, once you've got your brand set up on Polyvore, it's time to start driving those sales. Here's how to do it.

Get Creative With Sets

Your sets can be as imaginative or as bland as you want them to be. Many brands on Polyvore opt for the cliché product image, with their item floating on a white background.

That kind of presentation is expected by shoppers when they visit your website – but not when they visit your Polyvore account.

Instead, try incorporating some additional items, products and maybe even some text in order to spruce up your sets. Give your products some context, and don't be afraid to show a little spontaneity.

Fashion accessory vendors MonaMoore present a good example of a well crafted Polyvore set.

Their “Haider Stole My Heart” set is made up of a number of different products, "props" and even some text. It's busy and interesting, but not complicated.

Start Sharing

There are some extensive sharing options built in to the Polyvore platform which you should take advantage of.

On top of standard sharing buttons for networks like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, Polyvore allows you to embed sets directly into your blog or website.

By clicking the “Blog” share button found above all Polyvore sets, you can choose from four different embeddable layouts and the products you wish to share.

The embed code found within the same window is automatically adjusted depending on your selections, and the final step is as simple as copying and pasting that code into your website.

A good example of intelligently embedded sets can be found on The Glitter Guide, a fashion blog that consistently embeds Polyvore sets into their posts very effectively.

Participate in Groups

Polyvore gives you the option to search, set up and join different groups.

With over 21,000 of groups, your brand is bound to fit into a few. You can apply to join as many groups as you like, and with each acceptance, you should make a point of engaging with existing content and members in order to draw attention back to what your store has to offer.

PersunMall for example run and participate in a number of Polyvore groups. Their “Charming Sets for PersunMall” group rolls engagement and promotion into one, as they invite members to create sets using the PersunMall logo.

Run Polyvore Contests & Giveaways

Once you hit 30 followers on Polyvore, you can begin creating your very own groups. Once you have a group running, you can then use it to run contests for your members.

Last year, ZeroUV ran a Polyvore contest to kick off the start of the school year, inviting participants to create their ideal outfit for their first class of the semester.

The Usual Social Etiquette Still Applies

In many ways, Polyvore is just like any other social networking platform. That means that the usual social media etiquette and marketing strategies apply.

This includes following and engaging with other Polyvore users by liking and commenting on their sets and collections, as well as responding politely to any comments you may receive on your own profile.

In other words, don't just throw your products up and expect a response. The Polyvore community is expansive and evidently ready to spend – all you need to do is put the effort in.

Do you currently market your business on Polyvore? Let us know in the comments. 

P.S. To be featured in Shopify's Polyvore sets and collections, follow us on Polyvore here.


About the Author: Mark Macdonald is the Content Manager at Shopify. Get more from Mark on Twitter and Google+.