September 9, 2014
Social-media giants’ intention to get into social commerce has been well publicized. Facebook has been testing a buy button to integrate a purchase option into its users’ newsfeeds. But we believe Twitter has the upper hand in this market, primarily because people can retweet what they like. This feature means messages’ reach could grow exponentially. With Facebook, users can like a post and it focuses more on the original content. But the reshare focus of Twitter is attractive for businesses, because it gives them free exponential growth in reach.
Earlier this year, few people spotted buy now buttons in tweets from the shopping app Fancy. Some of them even tried to click them. The buttons could only be seen on Twitter’s mobile app, and were not working when Re/code (who broke the news) tested them out. When you see a buy button in a tweet and tap on it and the checkout happens within the twitter app you would be doing something called In-stream payments (on social media). Twitter has not allowed that in the past as well. Why? maybe because they are coming up with their own platform for commerce and payments. Maybe Fancy was given that to experiment with it. Or maybe not.
Yesterday Twitter announced through a blog post on their website that they are beginning to test a new way to discover and buy products on Twitter. For a small percentage of U.S. users, some tweets from test partners will feature a Buy button, letting you buy directly from a tweet.
This is an early step in building functionality into Twitter to make shopping from mobile devices convenient and easy, hopefully even fun. Users will get access to offers and merchandise they can’t get anywhere else and can act on them right in the Twitter apps for Android and iOS; sellers will gain a new way to turn the direct relationship they build with their followers into sales. Twitter isn’t building this alone: they’ve partnered with Fancy (@fancy), Gumroad (@gumroad), Musictoday (@Musictoday) and Stripe (@stripe) as platforms for this initial test, with more partners to follow soon.
In the test, an entire purchase can be completed in just a few taps. After tapping the Buy button, one will get additional product details and be prompted to enter shipping and payment information. Once that’s entered and confirmed, order information is sent to the merchant for delivery.
The test experience has been built with user’s trust and security at the forefront. Payment and shipping information is encrypted and safely stored after first transaction, so one can easily buy on Twitter in the future without having to re-enter all the information. Of course, one can always remove this information from the account. Credit card is processed securely and won’t be shared with the seller without permission.
Twitter is starting the test with a group of artists, brands, and non-profit organization, so look out for the following twitter handles over the coming weeks: