The Newest Participants in Social Commerce: Pinterest, Instagram and Yelp

June 15, 2015

You’re lying in bed at night, scrolling through your social media networks on your phone and BOOM — you’re presented with the opportunity to purchase a product without ever leaving the app. Is this dangerous or sheer awesomeness? Guess it depends on which side of the table you’re on (retailer vs. consumer) and how well you control your impulse buying decisions.

Shopping is quickly becoming more and more convenient. Magical “buy buttons” are popping up all over the internet. First on Facebook, then Twitter, Google after that and now Pinterest, Instagram and Yelp. What’s next? A special television remote to purchase products placed within shows? (Note to self — patent this idea.)

Let’s take a look at the most recent technology movements geared toward removing the friction from a consumer’s shopping experience.


pinterestWhen browsing Pinterest, how many times have you found the perfect ensemble or accessory only to find that clicking the pin’s link takes you to an error page or even worse — a “product no longer available” message? With a sigh of frustration, you pin the image to your appropriate board, where the unattainable pin can rest in peace and always be remembered for future inspiration.

Well, pinners (and retailers!) — good news is on the way. In the coming weeks, Pinterest is rolling out buyable pins in the US.

During the initial launch, more than two million buyable pins — featuring products from Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and more — will be available to purchase without ever leaving the platform. These pins will be equipped with a blue Buy It button that, when clicked, lets a buyer select size and color options.

A simple and secure checkout is also in play. Buyable pins work seamlessly on mobile devices. And once a buyer’s personal information is entered, Pinterest will store it for future transactions.

With buyable pins, Pinterest doesn’t take a cut from retailers’ sales, control shipping or interfere with customer service. To learn more about buyable pins for your business, check out Pinterest’s business blog.


People want to connect with businesses of all sizes on Instagram — from their favorite local restaurant to the largest brand in the world. As Instagram evolves and more businesses join the network, users are more frequently turning to Instagram to follow their passions.

Instagram first launched ads a year and a half ago with select retailers, and after this period of listening and learning, is now ready to make its ad options publicly available to businesses of all types and sizes via an Instagram Ads API.

The photo-centric network debuted its public launch with action-oriented ads. The new ad formats are equipped with options for users to take action directly from an Instagram ad — to sign up on a website, buy a product or download an app. Retailers can now use Instagram to drive business results across a variety of objectives.


To make these sponsored posts more relevant, Instagram is working with its parent company, Facebook, to enhance its targeting tools.


Want to expand your boutique merchandise to those consumers who prefer to shop without the crowds and chaos of brick-and-mortar stores? With Yelp’s latest partnership, you can do just that.

Yelp has finally made an investment in the retail vertical, its largest reviewed category, with — an online inventory of unique boutiques across the country. With the dual powers of Yelp and Shoptique, users can read reviews and highlights for each boutique from the Yelp community, browse inventory and purchase products — for doorstep delivery or pickup at the local boutique store.


Consumers completed about 1.5 million transactions on the Yelp Platform during just the first quarter of 2015. Its array of categories include food ordering, spa treatments, winery tastings, hotels and now boutique shopping. Shoptiques currently has products from 200 boutiques, but by the end of the summer, it aims to have thousands of boutiques available. This partnership may be a prime opportunity for apparel retailers looking to branch into e-commerce.


Consumers are trained to look for convenience — just look at Uber, Amazon’s Prime Now and the rise of the buy buttons. Purchasing products and services with minimal effort sparks consumers’ interests. If executed properly, retailers may just be able to ride this zero friction wave into a sea of profit.


Blog post by Jordan Nowlin, social media and blog manager, ChannelAdvisor

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