Twitter announced Monday that it is testing a Buy button, which allows tweeters to buy merchandise from retailers via Twitter, without leaving the social media platform. But retail experts who recently spoke with Multichannel Merchant say they are skeptical about the reality and future of Twitter commerce.
After tapping the Buy button, the customer gets additional product details and is prompted to enter shipping and payment information. Once it is entered and confirmed, the order confirmation is sent to the merchant for delivery.
Only two retailers – Burberry and The Home Depot – are currently using the Buy button.
Davy Kestens, CEO and co-founder of social media helpdesk platform Sparkcentral, questioned whether the Buy button functionality would be a make or break for Twitter.
“It seems an inevitable thing for Twitter to start doing in order to bring up their numbers,” said Kestens. “It would be great for the experience.”
This is an early step Twitter is taking in order to make shopping on mobile devices convenient and easy. Users will get access to offers and merchandise and can act on them right in the Twitter apps for both Android and iOS. Sellers will gain a new way to turn the direct relationship they build with their followers into sales.
Ryan Bonifacino, vice-president of digital strategy for jewelry retailer Alex and Ani, said there isn’t anything like Twitter. The engagement is there, but the question is can the user base scale become Pinterest-like in terms of discovery.
“When you look at your average feed, you see a lot news, people go to Pinterest to get inspired, can you have Twitter evolve one step closer to that discovery process,” said Bonifacino.
Bonifacino said he didn’t think we would see a world where people will go to Twitter to shop as they do on Amazon.
“It’s all about tracking, if an action happens on a brand’s ecommerce site, Twitter should get credit, but not full credit,” said Bonifacino. “Facebook is all about commerce and fractional contribution, so yes I think Twitter will get there.”
For office retailer Honest Office, Twitter commerce is not a reality. President Jeremy Biron said he didn’t know where this particular market was headed, but there are definite possibilities for Twitter.
“It’s is about building your connections on Twitter, I don’t think that people will be buying on Twitter. It’s meant for brief communications, it’s definitely a way to build a relationship,” said Biron.
Scot Cohn, vice-president of ecommerce for shoe retailer Chinese Laundry, said Twitter is a traffic and interest driver, but not a driver in terms of revenue.
“It’s important for the brand, but not important in terms of driving our revenue,” said Cohn.
Rob Reed, founder of MomentFeed, said Facebook commerce is much more of a reality given its scale and targeting ability.
“Twitter is a distant second in this category,” said Reed. “That being said, brands should absolutely be testing both channels to drive both online and offline commerce.”
Twitter has partnered with Fance, Gumroad, Musictoday and Stripe as platforms for the initial test and said it plans to partner with more.