eCommerce Insiders

Twitter’s Buy Now Rollout and What It Means for Ecommerce

With over 250 million users, Twitter is definitely a powerhouse social media platform.

This is why Twitters recent announcement that users will now be able to purchase products within the Twitter app is so important for ecommerce retailers.

If you don’t use Twitter, this might not seem like a big deal, but over 500 million tweets are sent every day and a good chunk of those are related to products and e-commerce stores.

Could letting your customers purchase your products directly within their Twitter stream benefit your business?

How It Works

Twitter has built all the checkout elements directly into the the Twitter interface. We can see how this interface looks in this image, which shows the mobile friendly version.

This is especially important since most of Twitters’ users rely exclusively on the mobile app to use the service.

Twitter Buy Now Interface

Twitter also created a short video showing how the entire process will look like from start to finish:

Twitter is trying to make purchasing as easy as retweeting a message. This is all very cool but the question every retail has is: how will this help me?

The Magic of Removing Purchasing Barriers

The best retailers on the web today are extremely focused on removing any barriers that would prevent their customers from purchasing something.

Amazon introduced their famous 1-click checkout for users who already have credit card information on file. Apple made purchasing apps extremely simple, requiring just two taps. It’s clear that the more steps that a user has to complete before completing an order, the higher the likelihood that this user will not complete their order.

Twitter is taking this a step further and trying to remove the barrier of even visiting the retailer website. Now this may sound terrible to some retailers, but it could be a positive thing, if Twitter is able to drive significant sales and customers to our online stores.

Twitter is a place where users go to discover all sorts of things, including your products. After finding a product that piques their interest, they have to click to visit your store, where they will hopefully buy your product. There, you run the risk of your checkout process being too complicated, your product description being too unclear, and unflattering product photos. Twitter can instead simplify everything into a couple of steps, all taken within the app users are already using.

This is like learning from a friend about some awesome product and then being able to purchase right there and then without having visit a particular store.

Less barriers to overcome = higher likelihood that customers will purchase something.

The Elephant in the Room: Can Twitter Make Retailers Money?

This new initiative by Twitter is still being tested by large retailers and only time will tell if its successful enough to open to all retailers, regardless of size. Sure, Twitter may be able to drive traffic to your website but other sites like Pinterest have a better track record with e-commerce retailers.

Since we can only speculate, let’s look at the pros and cons of this new Twitter service:

PRO: Consumers spend a lot of time on Twitter, especially on mobile apps.

80% of all active Twitter users are on the mobile apps for iPhone, Android, etc. We all know about the importance of mobile e-commerce and Twitter could offer an opportunity to tap into this growing channel.

PRO: Twitter is becoming the way to consumer real-time news or media.

Twitter keeps shining when it comes to real-time news and updates. It has played an important role in recent protests and users are now becoming accustomed to reading the latest news within their Twitter feeds. This means that Twitter will continue to play an important role in the life of many users, especially as it starts to replace other news sources like TV or newspapers.

PRO: Large ecosystem that thrives on connectivity.

Twitter is by its nature, a large ecosystem that is very well connected. News spreads like wildfire through with the hashtag model and retweets, and this is good for us. We don’t want to spend all of our time finding an audience and Twitter makes it easy to spread our information to potential customers.

CON: Twitter isn’t as big as other sites.

Twitter is big, but it’s not as big as other social media sites like Facebook. To some people, Twitter has lost some of the relevance it once had, but this is debatable. The important thing is that Twitter keeps growing every year in both users and revenue.

CON: Other channels have a better track record at driving traffic.

Retailers today tend to rely on other channels to drive traffic and sales to their store. Google is obviously one of the most important channels, but also smaller sites like Pinterest, which has an excellent track record when it comes to driving quality traffic to e-commerce sites.

CON: Lack of information on program structure.

Twitter also hasn’t release enough details as to how this program will shape up, or how the revenue will be split. It could turn out to be a bad business proposition for smaller retailers. Twitter also hasn’t mentioned if they will pass along the customer information (email, name, etc), or how hard it will be to set this up. All we can do is wait and keep an eye on how this experiment develops.

The Rise of Social Media Stores

What we know for sure is that Twitter is not the first social media site to try this or the last. Facebook and Pinterest are also working on their own “Buy Now” button.

All of these social media sites want to control their user bases and profit from them, and the ability to purchase products within their apps is a logical next step. As always, we need to focus on building our communities and keeping a close eye on where we get our customers. We could find ourselves one day locked out from a specific social network because they now want a cut of the action.

What do you think of the new Twitter Buy Now button? Would you use it if the program was opened to the general public?

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About Ruben Ugarte (41 Posts)

Ruben Ugarte is a Web Analytics Consultant who has helped companies of all sizes grow through the use of analytics. If you have any questions around how you can use analytics or even how to use tools like Mixpanel or Segment, get in touch with him!

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