Twitter to add a buy now button but will people click?

3 minute read

According to a report on Recode, Twitter is due to add ecommerce functionality directly into tweets. The website reports that Tweets had started to appear with a button embedded that directs people to ‘Buy now’. The tweets have so far only come from ecommerce brand Fancy, which has already been linked with Twitter for experimenting with ecommerce-enabled tweets.

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The small numbers of tweets that have appeared with the button don’t seem to click through to anything at the moment but commentators are suggesting that they are part of a test. Twitter currently allows some rich functionality within tweets such as data collection and media embedding. It has also recently partnered with Amazon to allow items that are hastagged with #AmazonCart to be added into a person’s Amazon shopping cart.

While the details of shoppable tweets haven’t yet been confirmed (Twitter hasn’t yet offered a comment on the functionality), adding this could make sense for users. For brands, removing the friction and steps from making a purchase prompted by a tweet would be beneficial. The tricky part will be ensuring that the experience feels natural to users.

The nature of social commerce has changed somewhat since Facebook shops took a reputational hammering. Schemes such as American Express’s Twitter deals have stood the test of time, however, suggesting that people are willing to transact socially, if the there is a value exchange.

With most tech and commerce launches all eyes fall on the online retailers, such as Fancy, to take the lead. But with Twitter predominantly being used to discuss passion points and topics, does commerce have a place?

According to Twitter, the most popular topics last year were events, news, people, football, other sports, music, politics and TV. Some topics here would lend themselves well to commerce in a social environment for tickets or merchandise; music and sports. Topics such as news may not seem to obvious but media businesses and publishers looking to monetise content could find a way to charge for premium content via the tweets.

With the commerce embedded tweets currently being only at testing phase, a smart way to test the feasibility of the feature would be through the other rich media tweets, or Twitter Cards. Cards can currently drive app installs, give deeper information about products or display media in a much richer way. Testing whether your followers are willing to engage with this content would help lead insights into the right copy and calls to action ahead of the tweets becoming commerce-enabled.