Yesterday (June 23), RetailWeek's Grace Bowden wrote about Tagspire, a startup hoping to connect social and e-commerce via its own mobile app.
Tagspire, whose app is available on Android and iOS, has already partnered with Bloomingdale's, Dorothy Perkins and Happy Socks.
"Tagspire is an online community that encourages users to share and recommend products in return for cash incentives," Bowden wrote. "Tagspire users tag their photos with details of which retailer they bought pictured items from. They are then rewarded commission when shoppers make a purchase after following a link from their post."
Social 'buy' buttons give the commission to the social network; Tagspire gives it to the initial user/referrer.
This is an interesting business model that taps into the inherent 'purchasing intent' revealed by liking and sharing items (particularly new shoes and clothes, as shown in the above screenshots) via social media. We've blogged in the past about how important social commerce is becoming: Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest have released, or plan to release very soon, their own "buy" buttons. In those cases, the commission is taken directly by the social network. What makes Tagspire unique is those commissions go back to the initial user/referrer.
Bowden also wrote that Tagspire users can share their photos and tagged items via Facebook and Twitter, so I suppose their referred products (and ensuing commissions) can reach friends and family that way. I imagine a Pinterest integration could be lucrative as well, because I honestly think Pinterest is the best social network at identifying purchasing intent specifically. Instagram seems like a no brainer for Tagspire as well.
It will be interesting to see how Tagspire (user-generated content) competes with the new social buy buttons (company-generated social ads), and what type of social referral marketplace it can carve out for itself.