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Twitter enters world of ecommerce, introduces purchasing ability through tweets

September 8, 2014

Twitter makes attempt at ecommerce by testing the feasibility of "buy" buttons in tweets.

Twitter, the social networking site, will begin its foray into ecommerce by testing the feasibility of “buy” buttons in tweets. Initially, a small percentage of users will see buttons in apps for iOS and Android devices. Tweets from brands, artists and charities will feature a button to buy or donate for their respective offers. Clicking the button will show a user the product’s details and a prompt for shipping and payment information. Making purchases will not require the user to leave the site.

This is Twitter’s first major attempt at ecommerce one year after hiring former Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard as head of commerce. Twitter is a publicly traded company that is always under pressure to increase revenue. Earning revenue from users as well as from ads on their website could be the next step in their expansion, although it is unknown how profits would be split with their retailers and partners.

New social media trend to sell products
Recently Twitter teamed up with Amazon to allow users to add items to their shopping cards by responding to product tweets with #AmazonCart. Other social media sites are likewise engaged in letting advertisers sell products through their sites. Facebook allows advertisers to sell products directly through ads now. Pinterest users have expressed interest in purchasing items they reference in the service as well.

However, efforts to monetize social media have not yet yielded significant results. Facebook users for example are still primarily interested in connecting with their friends and not so much with buying products through their accounts. It is believed that Twitter will run into the same issues, which is why the buy buttons recently introduced are considered to be in testing phase. Additionally, with the recent internet security breaches being publicized, perhaps these moves are poorly timed.

Regardless, Twitter will try to make money from its users and that will involve the storing of user credit card information. Twitter claims that the sensitive information will be encrypted, and that only encrypted data will be forwarded for processing.

To power their new service, Twitter has teamed up with a number of ecommerce sites such as Fancy, Gumroad, Musictoday and Stripe.  They also announced that they will be adding more merchants soon.

“This is an early step in our building functionality into Twitter to make shopping from mobile devices convenient and easy, hopefully even fun,” Twitter said in a blog post.

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