Twitter recently announced that it will begin publicly testing a ‘buy’ button that can be embedded into posts to allow users to buy a product with a couple of clicks.
This feature could eventually create a new reveunue stream for Twitter, which currently relies on advertising for virtually all of its income.
The test comes as competition in the world of mobile e-ecommerce intensifies. Apple is expected to unveil a new phone-based payment system on Tuesday as part of its latest update to the iPhone. and Facebook announced that it will begin testing a ‘buy’ button its service in Jul.
Social networks, including Pinterest, see e-commerce as a potentially huge moneymaker. All of them are experimenting with ways to make it easier to buy directly from their sites, but so far none have introduced purchase technology on a wide scale.
At the moment, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinetrest are trying to offer customers the ability to buy advertised products instantly. This would allow them to charge a fee for faciliating the transaction and also keep people from leaving their site or app.
Unlike Twitter’s previous e-commerce efforts with companies like Amazon and American Express, the latest effort will not require buyers to send a public message with a special hashtag to buy a product. Instead, they will click on a “buy” button inside the Twitter message.
The service will then prompt them to enter credit card and shipping information or, if it is already on file, ask them to click again to confirm the purchase.
“I think of Twitter as the place to connect with the things that you love,” said Nathan Hubbard, a former chief executive of Ticketmaster, who joined Twitter a year ago to lead its commerce efforts. “How can you bring a transaction into the experience to make it additive?”
Mr. Hubbard said the test would initially be limited to a small number of Twitter users in the United States and would include items for sale from 19 entities, including popular musicians like Rihanna and Eminem, nonprofit groups like the Nature Conservancy and DonorsChoose, and the retailers Home Depot and Burberry.