Commentary

Yuno Rewards Users When Friends Buy Products

With ad dollars flooding into social media and everyone obsessed with social media “influencers,” the next step may be actually rewarding people who get other people in their social networks to buy products. That’s the thinking behind Yuno, a social shopping e-commerce site that gives people cash back every time someone in their social network sees what they purchased and buys the same (or a related) product.

Yuno curates a range of fashion, lifestyle, sports and technology products from hundreds of retailers including Macy's, Best Buy, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Foot Locker, and claims to give consumers access through these connections to a combined inventory of over 70 million products. In addition to its cash back incentives, the network allows users to “like,” comment on and recommend products.

According to the company there’s no cap on the cash back rewards, so the most active Yuno users can receive up to the full value of their purchases depending on how much they influence their followers on the site.

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Yuno founder and CEO Andre Walters explained how Yuno aims to democratize the “influencer” phenomenon: “With social media, the power to generate attention and to influence others' behavior is no longer limited to famous celebrities. We are all valuable in the world of commerce through word of mouth marketing, and we believe that value should be recognized in our everyday transactions by the companies we support.”

There’s all kinds of new companies mashing up social media and ecommerce. Earlier this year I wrote about Joinem, a startup looking to reinvent the group commerce industry with a new model combining mobile, the sharing economy and e-commerce. Essentially, Joinem’s central WePower service scans the prices for products offered by big online retailers like Amazon and Walmart, then promises to deliver a discount of up to 25% below the lowest price on offer – provided a certain number of people agree to participate in a group purchase (at a price pre-approved by the retailer).

Users can recruit additional buyers by sharing deals via social media, and Joinem also employs proprietary technology to identify like-minded shoppers for group buys. Finally, consumers can fill out a personal social profile to get enhanced product discovery, with a personalized referral URL they can share socially.

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