Social shopping: Word-of-mouth into dollars-and-cents

A sticker over gloves.

Do you believe you have what it takes to make it in the fashion world?

Well, social networking may be allowing you to do just that: Social commerce websites like and allow users to curate their own shopping recommendations, invite friends to come view and potentially buy the items, and a cut of the sales goes back to the original user.

Fashion journalist Kate Betts says these shopping websites turn the business model upside down by democratizatizing the fashion world. Sites like Pinterest helped users create their own aesthetic, but users grew frustrated that they couldn't actually buy the items on the site.

"These sites are kind of like designing your own catalouge," says Betts. She says these new sites add the missing layer of commerce to the equation.

But Betts says with growing popularity and expansion come problems too: Because technology is moving so fast, it will be a challenge for these companies to keep up with the pace.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, the most widely heard program on business and the economy in the country.


I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...

Sustainability Coverage

  • The Kendeda Fund
  • Wealth & Poverty Coverage

  • The Ford Foundation