Working with marketing vendor Curalate, PBTeen’s revamped blog boosted the retailer’s click-through rates 110%.

Williams-Sonoma Inc.’s youth-focused version of Pottery Barn, PBTeen, earlier this year decided it needed to do something about its blog. The blog looked like a lot of retailers’ blogs: it featured big blocks of text, some photos and, at the bottom of the post, a list of hyperlinks for the products in the photos.

The posts weren’t driving many clicks—and even fewer sales.

“We needed to improve the consumer experience,” says Allyson Buscemi, the brand’s social media manager. “We were getting virtually no clicks on the hyperlinks that we included in our posts.”

PBTeen turned to marketing vendor Curalate, which was testing a new product called Curalate Reveal that lets retailers tag photos in blog posts with product information for multiple items. When a consumer mouses over one of those items, the blog displays the product name and a Shop button that, when clicked, takes him to the product page.

The tool, which officially launched Tuesday, is available to the vendor’s more than 700 clients as part of its larger visual marketing packages this week and which will sell for $12,000 a year for new clients starting next year (it will offer a discounted rate for the remainder of the year). 

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Curalate’s tool makes for a cleaner blog, Buscemi says. For example, the first post that leveraged Curalate Reveal featured 10 photos, each of which included about three products. With the retailer’s traditional approach that used hyperlinks, the photos would have included 33 hyperlinks. “It would look awful and shoppers wouldn’t know what to click,” she says. “Now shoppers just have to point and click and buy.”

Early results show consumers are responding; the retailer’s first “shoppable” blog post, which appeared on Sept. 9, had click-through rates 110% higher than those on the brand’s other blog posts.

Curalate CEO Apu Gupta says Curalate Reveal makes retailers’ blogs, which brands are already investing in, more valuable. “We’re taking an asset that exists and making it more valuable,” he says. “If you can connect pictures to products in a way that is intuitive to shoppers, you make the path to purchase easier.”

Williams-Sonoma is No. 20 in the Internet Retailer 2015 Top 500 Guide.

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