A little more than a year after Twitter Inc. began testing a Buy button on its platform, the social network is making a major push to become an e-commerce hub or, as the social network puts it, the “world’s biggest social marketplace.”
Twitter today announced it is allowing Best Buy Co. Inc., adidas AG and Pacific Sunwear of California Inc., as well as U.S. retailers that use the BigCommerce Pty. Ltd., Demandware or Shopify Inc. e-commerce platforms to sell via Twitter’s Buy Now button. Twitter’s platform handles payment processing through Stripe Inc.’s Relay tool, and orders are synchronized with the retailer’s e-commerce software.
Of the 1,000 largest online retailers in North America, 75 use one of those three vendors’ platforms, according to Internet Retailer’s Top500Guide.com, including BigCommerce’s V2Cigs.com (No. 377 in the 2015 Top 500 Guide), Demandware’s L.L. Bean Inc. (No. 34) and Shopify’s eForCity Corp. (No. 353).
Twitter aims to make it easy for retailers to connect directly with, and sell to, consumers on its platform, especially those on smartphones, says Nathan Hubbard, Twitter’s head of commerce. By eliminating the need for shoppers to click to a retailer’s site, it aims to “remove much of the friction in the mobile purchasing process,” he says.
Giving more retailers the ability to sell directly on Twitter should lead more retailers to use the social network to market products, says Brent Bellm, BigCommerce’s CEO.
“This makes Twitter far more attractive a marketing platform for retailers,” he says.
Echoing Hubbard’s point, Bellm points to a potential use case for a BigCommerce retailer client, FlashTat.com. A few weeks ago, Beyoncé launched a line of temporary tattoos with the retailer, which the entertainer announced on Twitter. However, because the BigCommerce integration was not yet live, a shopper interested in buying the tattoos would have had to click to the retailer’s site, add the desired tattoos to a cart and then click to check out.
“That’s a lot of steps,” he says, noting that now Beyoncé could announce the line with a tweet to her 14.1 million followers, highlighting a single tattoo and a Buy Now button. A shopper could then click and buy the tattoo directly on Twitter. “That’s so much easier,” Bellm says.
Twitter’s move is the latest in a series of e-commerce-oriented moves the social network has taken in the past few years. For instance, it began letting consumers load offers directly onto a credit or debit card, as well as browse or shop products without leaving the social network.
Twitter has plenty of company among other social networks seeking to add e-commerce into their platforms. For instance, Pinterest in June began rolling out its blue Buy It button to Demandware and Shopify retailers, and Facebook Inc. is running multiple tests with Shopify merchants involving Buy buttons.