A new wave of technology companies is finally getting into the mobile commerce game.

A new wave of technology companies is finally—some would say inevitably—getting into the mobile commerce game. Instagram and Pinterest have both recently launched “buy buttons.” Even Google, which has long allowed retail rivals such as Amazon to dominate mobile commerce, recently announced that it will display shoppable links alongside mobile searches.


More searches now happen on mobile than desktop in 10 countries, including the United States and Japan, and the list is likely to lengthen. But so far, brands hoping to convert time spent on mobile devices into purchases have struggled to integrate e-commerce with the apps consumers already use. Previously, brands that wanted to sell via Instagram, for example, had to use third-party apps and time-sucking workarounds that just didn’t make sense. “I can’t tell you how many people are saying on big brands’ posts, ‘How do I buy this?’” said Jason Stein of social media agency Laundry Service in Adweek. “There is a demand that people want to take action.”


The moves are not entirely driven by consumer demand for seamless shopping—colossally valued social networks like Pinterest need to boost revenue. And Instagram, a billion-dollar acquisition for Facebook, has only tiptoed into advertising so far and needs to find new revenue streams if it hopes to generate significant returns.

“Everything Is Retail,” a trend we highlighted in our 10th anniversary report, noted that mobile technology is turning a wide range of interactions into potentially shoppable moments. But some consumers dislike these innovations, especially on platforms that they normally use to share intimate, personal moments. If shopping interfaces are too disruptive, consumers may balk. Brands hoping to make the most of these new platforms should be wary of introducing too much mobile commerce too soon.

Image credit: Adweek