Commentary

Twitter Preps Buy Button Rollout

After a limited test period, Twitter is preparing to roll out its new “Buy” buttons, first introduced in September, more widely through a partnership with Shopify and other e-commerce platforms, accord to Re/code, which first reported the news earlier this week.

The report, which neither Twitter nor Shopify have confirmed, comes as social media rival Facebook and Pinterest develop their own e-commerce capabilities.

The integration between Twitter and Shopify will bring "Buy" buttons to Twitter accounts for roughly 100,000 merchants in the U.S. who already use Shopify software for e-commerce, enabling them to sell products from tweets. This represents a big step towards “closing the loop” from advertising to actual purchases, all handled through Twitter’s platform, promising marketers a better grasp on ROI.

Twitter was previously working with a handful of smaller e-commerce platforms, including Fancy and Gumroad; the deal with Shopify holds out the prospect of much greater scale through access to its larger customer base.

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Back in June Twitter began testing dedicated product pages, featuring images and videos about products, alongside information such as a description, price and an option to buy, book, or visit a brand’s Web site for more information. Users can see pages and collections of pages that are shared by influencers and brands within their timelines.

Twitter has also been testing new ways for people and brands to create and share collections of products and places. Users can browse collections from various influencers, and get more information about featured products and places.

As noted, Twitter faces plenty of competition in the e-commerce arena. Last month, Google began testing “buy” buttons in its mobile search results, and Facebook revealed it is experimenting with shops in Facebook Pages, enabling brands to transact e-commerce directly from the Facebook platform.

The new functionality builds on Facebook’s previous introduction of a “buy” button, which enabled users to buy specific products featured on the site, by adding product discovery for a more complete shopping experience.

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