Social media has become an integral part of our day-to-day lives for sharing life events, interacting with people and even sourcing information. In the race to be on the top, social networking sites keep enhancing their features to retain and entertain their user base. The latest to roll out a new component is the enormously popular and widely used social networking micro blogging site Twitter. It is all set to introduce an innovative e-commerce shopping service for its mobile users.
The site included a “Buy Now” button embedded on the tweets below the image alongside the name of the product and vendor. Still in the testing stage of the service, the button appeared in the tweet expanded view as well as the timeline view. Upon clicking the said button, users will be able to enter their shipping information and make the payment. This information will be then sent to the merchant to deliver your goods. Twitter collaborates with an online payments service called Stripe to complete the transactions and purchases. Although the payment information is encrypted, user data like shipping and other personal records will be stored so that you can complete future purchases easily without adding your information again. This is optional; if you do not want Twitter to save your data, you can disable this feature. The entire process is accomplished without leaving Twitter, with just a few taps and it is quick and hassle-free.
The service will range from apparel shopping to buying music online and more. Users can even donate money to charities through the site. The first few brands seen in the testing stage were Home Depot and Burberry, musicians Eminem and Brad Paisley, and non-profit organizations like The Nature Conservancy and GLAAD. “Buy Now” button will first be available to a small fraction of U.S. users. With the received feedback, more knowledge of demand and shopping patterns, it will slowly be expanded to the entire Twitter user base. It is going to be available on the site’s iOS and Android apps.
Earlier this summer, Twitter included non-functional buy buttons on certain tweets which fuelled speculations that it was going to come up with such an element soon. This time though, the company has confirmed in a blog post that it is all set to build this kind of functionality in its website to enable users to shop conveniently and easily from their mobile devices.
Online shopaholics will rejoice at this addition and it’s just one more reason for them to stay longer and browse through their Twitter feed. Rather than obnoxious sponsored promotional tweets cluttering up their page, users will actually be able to connect with their favorite shopping portals and buy products effortlessly. With more and more shopping websites tweeting their products and offers to connect with shoppers, businesses can attractively advertise their merchandise and have the benefit of direct sales. This is an excellent opportunity for twitter, to cash in on the opportunity and monetize user interaction. There will be a rise in its conversion rates and in turn increase in revenue. It seems to be a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Although this service is novel and interesting, it doesn’t come across as entirely new or very surprising either. In the recent past, Twitter experimented with e-commerce and came up with #AmazonCart; a unique feature for Amazon users. Users needed to connect to twitter by updating their social settings in their account on the Amazon website. On any tweet by Amazon for a product on Twitter, when the user replies #AmazonCart, the product automatically gets added to the user’s cart in their Amazon account. Later, whenever the users return to their Amazon account, they will find all the products saved in their cart which they can then buy.
Other social networking sites are also said to be testing this kind of service. Facebook is interested in converting the advertisements to direct sales for its users with a similar buy button. Pinterest has also mulled over introducing one such component wherein users can buy the products they pinned in their account.
Twitter has 271 million monthly active users out of which 78% are on mobile. However, the revenue it generates is apparently not as significant, corresponding to the huge number of users. Most of the income is sourced from advertisements on the website. Hence, in a bid to increase returns, the company is planning new strategies in e-commerce. This feature is an appealing option that will trigger users to purchase products. Renowned research firm eMarketer has estimated mobile commerce revenue to go over $50 billion in the U.S. in 2014. Considering this estimate, Twitter is definitely on the rise to obtain rewarding profits. It just needs to provide the right type of convenient and interesting buying experience to its users.