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Twitter announces new eCommerce features

Twitter have just announced a massive new feature. eCommerce. That’s right folks. It will soon be possible for merchants to sell their products directly to customers within tweets.

Twitter, Facebook and Google have historically relied very heavily on Advertising as their main source of revenue. Twitter are the laggard when it comes to executing a successful monetization strategy. The platform has struggled thus far to leverage it’s large user base with ways of making money that don’t compromise it’s core values. The recent soundings suggesting that the Twitter timeline will ditch it’s chronological feed to a “social signals” based algorithm has hard core tweeters up in arms.

Today Twitter announced a new feature which might mean it can stick to it’s historical roots while opening up potential new massive revenue streams. Something that might keep both hardcore Tweeters and shareholders happy. That feature is eCommerce.

How will eCommerce work on Twitter?

Twitter have worked in collaboration with a number of partners including Stripe to build out a pretty impressive mobile optimized eCommerce user experience. In a nutshell, merchants will be able to embed a Buy button into tweets containing products. When a user clicks the buy button the full product details will appear and the user can then complete the purchase process with a couple more clicks along with the usual payment info.

Here’s a video demonstrating the process.

As you can see, the process looks pretty slick. This feature is not available to all merchants just yet. The initial pilot group includes retailers like Burberry, The Home Depot and a lot of music artists. Actually it’s mostly music artists which would suggest Twitter feel that this feature will convert very well for music sales which is interesting in of itself. I guess the mobile medium is more suitable to quick, cheap purchases like music singles rather than expensive high ticket goods.

It will be very interesting to see if this feature takes off and becomes widely available to merchants en masse. It could transform mobile commerce for a mainstream audience and also lead to explosive revenue growth for Twitter. Exciting times ahead.

About Colm: He has been building web stuff since the web was a wee lad. Colm built his first blog with WordPress around 2007 and has been hooked ever since. When not knee deep in hooks and filters you'll probably find him running around a mountain or making pizza.

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