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Tumblr, Line boost commerce as mobile drives online purchasing

Two social platforms – Tumblr and Line – are beefing up their social commerce initiatives as mobile gains as an important platform for purchasing products viewed online.

Tumblr said it would launch a new feature that will allow users who post links from a selection of sites such as Etsy, Artsy, Kickstarter and Do Something to automatically see action buttons appear in the top right corner of the posts for people to buy, browse, pledge, or do something. Line, operator of a messaging application, unveiled plans for a mobile payment service called Line Pay, which will let users make payments through the app at affiliated online and bricks-and-mortar stores by registering their credit cards.

The moves point to mobile commerce’s needing to become increasingly mobile friendly as millennials raised on the technology become the dominant purchasing group.

“Generations X and Y have had their perspectives of bank security widely shaped by the financial crisis of 2008,” said Madeline Roth, brand analyst with Vivaldi Partners Group.

“As a result, new payment alternatives and transaction channels are gaining widespread appeal and usage – many of these primarily on mobile, as evidenced by things like Apple Pay and Venmo.

“Combined with the fact that mobile already represents a major platform for e-commerce, providing seamless integration and making it easy and secure for consumers to shop and purchase online will be increasingly critical to brands’ success moving forward,” she said.

Indexing high
Millennials index high for the mobile use of both Tumblr and Line, indicating that mobile marketing through these platforms will need to be geared towards this audience.

Tumblr evolving for Millennials.

In upcoming years, mobile marketing will begin to over take more traditional means of marketing. For instance, Britain is expected to become the first country to spend more on digital advertising than print within early 2015

“The trend towards digital, and mobile in particular, will only gain momentum,” Ms. Roth said. “Brands will need to integrate with social platforms that their consumer demographics are already using. Simultaneously, brand marketers need to be cognizant of providing a consistent, omnichannel experience.”

Given that deep linking within an app brings the user directly to the purchase page of an m-commerce website, it will become important for those purchase pages to be both extremely mobile and user friendly.

In July, social shopping gained the wider availability that could drive the uptake for which marketers were hoping with Facebook’s revelation that it was testing a “buy” button as well as Twitter’s acquisition of CardSpring to build in-tweet card-linked offers and commerce.

Two weeks ago, social shopping network Wanelo moved to streamline the customer journey by launching a “buy” button that enables purchases from within the network’s mobile application.

By using the “Buy on Wanelo” feature, consumers on the app can buy any of 500,000 items directly from brands’ product pages without having to be redirected to the retailers’ ecommerce sites to complete purchases or to enter credit card information. The launch aims to give shoppers the seamless connection between mobile and in-store service offered in travel and other fields.

Streamlining commerce
With mobile a significant and still growing way that social networks are accessed by consumers, it is imperative that social commerce experiences be streamlined for easy use on small screens.

Line’s social commerce plan is something to talk about.

“As Google’s mobile lead Jason Spero says, mobile is for action,” said Jeff Hasen, founder and CEO of Gotta Mobilize, a Seattle-based marketing consulting firm.

“We see it in how mobile searches turn into actions in a fraction of the time that they do on desktops, in the title time it takes for someone to open a text message, and in the seemingly split-second action to create and post content.

“A mobile initiative without action as a goal is often going to fail,” he said. “With that said, social commerce is unproven. The biggest of the social players are in the mix. This Tumblr/Line program may be ahead of its time.”

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York.