April 14, 2014

Twitter Commerce is Coming

Posted by Janna Leyde Category IconNews & Trends Category IconSocial Media


Twitter, the microblogging website devoted to breaking news, celebrity gossip, and real-time stock option updates, is stepping up the functionality ladder. Next rung? E-commerce. Although this selling platform has only entered its infancy, it’s a first major step in expanding online payments to more social platforms.


Facebook tried e-commerce a little over a year ago — well, tried and failed. Remember Facebook’s Gifts, where friends could buy other friends a plush kitten or a kitchen appliance to celebrate a significant event or just because? No? That’s probably because Facebook Gifts didn’t even last a full year before it met its demise. Apparently, FB users held very little interest in giving each other physical gifts in a virtual space. Over 80 percent of all buyers purchased gift cards, hence the reason that your boss can only Facebook-gift you a gift card from Williams-Sonoma these days. So, if Facebook flunked at this, how does Twitter plan to sell material goods in a digital world? Two words: Real Time.

Real-time web (evolved from real-time IT) allows users to receive information the second it’s published — breaking news, game scores, video, and the like. Since 2009, Twitter’s contenders haven’t been able to keep up with the speed of the tweet. For example, take these tweets: There’s a plane in the Hudson… or R.I.P. Whitney or …first photos from the scene at the Boston Marathon explosion. Twitter beats everyone to the punch. While Google and Amazon can offer CMOs and digital sales representatives boatloads of results-based advertising data, Twitter is simply selling #inrealtime. Beat that, Amazon and eBbay. Groupon — best of luck to you with your daily deals. While other companies have the technical capabilities to do this, Twitter simply excels at it.

Twitter commerce, user flow.
Twitter commerce, user flow.

Not only does Twitter rule at real-time, but Twitter followers are the keepers of the content they create — news, gossip, photos, live-tweeting. It only makes sense to allow these users to also curate the goods and services they buy. “The incentives for Twitter to dive further into e-commerce are immense, because it would drive direct-response advertisers and small businesses promoting local deals,” analysts from Goldman Sachs told Fox Business. With marketing, customers, and supreme efficiency, the missing piece to this Twitter Commerce puzzle remains inventory. Fancy.com is basically a huge online store where you can “discover and buy amazing goods.” (Also of note: Jack Dorsey, a co-founder of Twitter, sits on the Fancy board.) Word on the web is that Twitter may have even more e-commerce partnerships in the works.

Who is going to benefit from Twitter Commerce?

  • · The artists, the designers and the custom makers of the world — the kind of folks found selling on websites similar to etsy.com
  • · Local businesses and Mom & Pop shops — the businesses who produce quality products at low volume
  • · Entrepreneurs and start-ups — people and companies who are giving a serious thought to the power of real-time e-commerce
  • · Any brand that is using the Twitter API

Who might want to watch out for Twitter Commerce?

  • · Groupon — selling in real-time is going to be speedier than any daily deal
  • · eBay — shoppers are becoming more open to social commerce
  • · Facebook — Gifts didn’t work out too well the first time
  • · Big Box Retailers — selling physical goods in a physical space in an increasingly digital world