Twitter wants to become a shopping destination

  • News
  • June 22, 2015
  • Elly Strang
Twitter wants to become a shopping destination

Twitter is testing two ways to make it easier for users to buy products straight from their Twitter feed.

The first is better organising tweets to surface in users’ feeds about products and pages. These pages will include descriptions, prices and an option to buy the products.

The second is organising tweets about products and places on dedicated pages.

This is a way for brands and people to curate a collection of products.

Disney Store, Nordstrom, Target, Nike, Demi Lovato and HBO’s Game Of Thrones are a few of the 41 partners that are testing curated collections so far.

Nike's LeBron Elite collection Twitter page

“This is just the beginning. In the coming months we’ll be testing more new experiences we hope give you the most personalized and relevant information about the places and things you want to explore,” Twitter wrote in a blog post.

Twitter unveiled its “buy” button last year, (see: big internet players make buying one click away) but the option was only available on some promoted tweets.

With the new feature, retailers can choose if they want to sell directly on the site via a buy button, or link through to a different page.

See this example with The Martian below:

Some are speculating this announcement is a way to build up public confidence after Twitter’s former CEO Dick Costolo announced he was stepping down.

It also comes in the wake of criticism that the Twitter is dying, as some damaging statistics have emerged.

Although about a billion people are registered to Twitter, 550 million (44 percent) have never sent a tweet.

The site has about 302 million monthly active users, but only 34 percent of active users log on to Twitter more than once a day.

It’s hard to tell how Twitter will fare with this venture, as it’s unclear whether people will embrace buying products off the platform.

Unlike Instagram or Pinterest, Twitter is more focused on what’s being said rather than the visuals.

The platform has the ability to post photos and videos, but it’s fair to say it isn’t beautifully curated in the same way Pinterest or Instagram is – although its curated page feature may try change that.

Statistics show focusing on text is not a strategy that lends itself to selling products.

According to this marketing blog:

- 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text

- 40 percent of people will respond better to visual information than plain text

- Posts with videos attract three times more inbound links than plain text posts

- Visual content drives engagement. Just one month after the introduction of Facebook timeline for brands, visual content (photos and videos) saw a 65 percent increase in engagement

- On Facebook, photos perform best for likes, comments, and shares as compared to text, video, and links

See more visual social media case studies in our window shopping feature.

So, what’s in it for businesses?

Twitter’s strength lies in the spike in traffic when there is a conversation going on around a trending topic.

This could be anything from a new movie, a breaking news event or an announcement and often involves a trending hashtag.

Introducing a shopping feature encourages Twitter users to buy products related to whatever the conversation is about.

If it can harness the power of its trending topics and hashtags into these shopping features, this could be an effective tool for businesses.

Businesses just need to ensure they understand context if they jump on popular hashtags - unlike popular pizza maker DiGornio Pizza’s tweet last year.

The company used the #WhyIStayed hashtag domestic abuse victims were using to talk about their experience to say, “#WhyIStayed You had pizza”.

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