Even before mobile commerce sets in the consumer’s comfort zone, mobile “Buy” buttons have seemed to sweep the mobile retail space. Just in these past few weeks, leading companies like Pinterest and Google have announced their plans to introduce mobile “Buy” buttons to utilize their user data to shape an ultimate shopping experience.
Pinterest, the third largest social network right behind Twitter and Facebook, is a rapidly growing social bookmarking site where users can save images related to their interests and/or hobbies. As mentioned in a previous post, Pinterest offers an ideal platform where users can “window shop,” or in other words actively search for their next purchase. According to CEO Ben Silbermann, users have been requesting a buy feature for quite some time, and there had been continuous talks regarding the subject. Finally this past week, Pinterest released the details of its latest “Buy It” mobile feature. It is expected to be available on iOS later this month, while availability on the Android and web are expected later this year. Pinterest claims that over 2 million products will be accessible through this new button with big name retailers, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, on board.
This past year, Pinterest has been stepping up their efforts to collect revenue. Not only did they make paid video ads, called Cinematic Pins, available, they have also made “Promoted Pins” open to all advertisers. At a $11 billion valuation, there’s no doubt that Pinterest has been feeling the pressure to bring in the big bucks. As of now, Pinterest is not charging retailers for buyable pins; however, depending on the success of the feature, retailer fees are expected to go into effect in the future.
Search giant Google has also confirmed its plans to incorporate a “Buy” button in its mobile search results later this year. Although there is still too much undisclosed information on how Google will integrate the button, it will undoubtedly have mobile shopping sites, like Amazon, take a hit. Currently, Amazon products have a strong hold on Google’s top product search results. However, with a “Buy” button, Google is taking the user shopping experience into its own hands.
By introducing mobile buying features, Pinterest and Google both have the potential power to completely change the retail space. However, this does not come without its own complications. Dominant social platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have already carried out public tests that have yet to report any sort of progress. Not only do retailers have to warm up to the idea, they have to reassure their own customers to become familiarized and trust making purchases through these third-party functions. And most importantly, they must alleviate the inevitable worry of retailers losing customer relationships to these networks (Re/code).
Mobile commerce is still a relatively new and growing space. There’s no surprise that retailers still remain hesitant. Nevertheless, with so many powerful companies jumping on the bandwagon, it seems that it is only a matter of time before the “buy” button becomes ubiquitous.