Would You Buy Through Twitter?

Twitter is experimenting with buy buttons direct from its site


People use Twitter for a variety of regions, from abusing celebrities to demonstrating their vast capacity for outrage. And they use it for sharing articles, like this one. It can even be obscure articles that would otherwise likely go unread.

Over the past year, Twitter has been busy expanding its purview by better integrating financial transactions onto both its site and app to improve its ecommerce experience. The social media giant has been testing its Buy Now button on a small scale since last September, having initially partnered with Fancy, Gumroad, Musictoday, and Stripe, and it announced last Wednesday that they set to partner with three more of the best known e-commerce platforms - Bigcommerce, Demandware, and Shopify - to bring it to millions more users.

Nathan Hubbard, Twitter’s vice president of commerce, said in a blogpost: ‘The goal for all our commerce initiatives on Twitter is simple: make it as easy as possible for businesses to connect directly with, and sell to, customers on Twitter. With Buy Now, businesses can drive more conversions and remove much of the friction in the mobile purchasing process.’

The Buy Now button will be available in the US first over coming months, before being rolled out internationally in 2016. The new button will not only allow Twitter users to make purchases without leaving the platform, it will also enable them to easily make repeat purchases, with payments and shipping information being stored and encrypted so that consumers can buy again next time with just two clicks - one on the buy button and another to verify the purchase.

The deal follows other similar recent moves by Twitter last month to integrate online payments - partnering with mobile payment company Square Inc to accept online donations for US political campaigns. These new products come as Twitter’s growth flags. In July of this year, the firm announced that monthly user growth was the slowest since the company went public in 2013, with 316 million users signing up in the second quarter of the year - up just 2.6% on the first quarter. As growth in its user base slows, moves to start facilitating transactions are a logical way of growing its revenue streams that are potentially more lucrative than traditional advertising models. It is also hoped that e-commerce will help to drive engagement among current users, and attract new members.

Fellow social giants Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest are all busy making moves into e-commerce. Facebook is helping businesses to create online storefronts, and has also been testing the introduction of buy buttons to its news feed and business pages. Pinterest also introduced buyable pins in users’ feeds earlier this year for major retailers including Macy’s and Nordstrom. The integration of such buttons is lucrative, with social media platforms typically earning revenue of 8-10% of the value of transactions made on their sites, compared to 2-3% for payment companies that process such transactions. It is also more attractive for a social media platform to keep users on site, as opposed to getting revenue from banner advertisements and click-throughs, which divert traffic out to merchants’ websites and away from them, and it is likely that this focus on e-commerce will continue.


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