Twitter is Knocking at E-Commerce’s Door

Posted by Lauren Murphy on September 9th, 2013 in , ,

Twitter is known for it’s succinct messages of 140 characters or less. Each character has a value to marketers, but that value may increase in the near future. Last week, Twitter announced its first Head of Commerce, Nathan Hubbard. Hubbard was the CEO of Ticketmaster and has a good grasp on how people buy items online. He’ll use his insight to help Twitter develop a system that allows users to buy an item without ever having to leave the microblogging site. Business of Fashion reports that Twitter plans to enable shopping through the existing short postings on its site. Sure, this may make shopping more convenient, but what does this mean for marketers?

Marketers are already tweeting up a storm to build awareness about their brand and its products or services. Time Magazine speculates that Twitter may add a prominent “Buy” button to Twitter Cards, tweets that expand to show a summary and embedded photos or videos. It seems like an all-in-one experience- hanging out your favorite social networking site and shopping at the same time. If a customer retweets a post including a “Buy” button, what impact will that have? Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool, so its impact may become amplified with this feature.

Reported by Business of Fashion, Hubbard assures marketers that Twitter plans on partnering with merchants and retailers, rather than compete with them, to deliver a product right on the social media site. He also added that Twitter may seek a percentage of the profits to deliver the service to customers. However, how much of a dent into our profits will this service take? And an even better question, how will customers feel about allowing Twitter access to their financial information in order to make a purchase?

Sure, sites like Amazon have one-click shopping, but it’s not a social site where anything and everything is shared. Social Media Today recounts Facebook’s failed attempt at becoming an e-commerce site on top of a social networking site. Back in 2011, Gap and Gamestop closed their Facebook stores after a few short months due to a lack of ROI. This may be perhaps consumers prefer to keep their social networks and shopping baskets separate. Customer’s share brand experiences on social media, but a study of 250 luxury brands over the last 4 years showed that only 0.1% of new customers came from Twitter. With social networking sites may be great for promoting a product, they may not be so great when acting as a platform to buy it.

Only time will tell what Twitter has in store for e-commerce. And, whether or not it’s successful is an entirely different story.


2 Responses to “Twitter is Knocking at E-Commerce’s Door”

  1. Venisha Hawthorne says:

    Guess I need to reactivate my Twitter account now.

  2. Debi West says:

    The world of adds and marketing and selling and buying is changing right before our eyes. I try to tell people, you need to jump on this “band wagon” …’s going to be a long ride!

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