It was only a matter of time. Tweets are now transactions.
A new service called Chirpify has opened Twitter to e-commerce, enabling people to buy, sell, donate, pay and otherwise transact in-stream with their Twitter accounts.
It's a storefront upload that's already being adopted by big companies like Hewlett-Packard, PowerBar and VH1.
Here's how it works: Brands, small businesses and musicians tweet offers using a product image. Shoppers reply to the post with the word "buy." And that's it.
Seriously. It's that easy. Payment is made via PayPal, with Chirpify taking a 4% flat fee. Boom. Done.
The potential to turn followers into instant customers is beyond staggering. The question of the dollar value of a Twitter follower has just been taken to a whole new level.
In April, Chirpify, based in Portland, Ore., raised north of $1 million in funding, with investments coming from HootSuite CEO Ryan Holmes, BuddyTV CEO Andy Liu, and former Facebook exec Rudy Gadre. In early July, the company hired former American Express director Rayburn Chan to lead its social-payment platform. Chan spent a decade at AmEx, where he helped develop that company's mobile-wallet platform.
Right now the startup is looking to expand to allow linking to debit and credit accounts, and even expand beyond Twitter. But that doesn't necessarily mean Facebook, an area in which Chirpify has reportedly expressed no interest.
Keep your eye on this company. With strong management and a new twist on e-commerce, they might just lead the way in Twitter's evolving advertising ecosystem.
Global Twitter ad sales were $288 million in fiscal 2012, up from about $140 million in 2011. These numbers could keep going up, and I wouldn't be surprised if other startups follow in Chirpify's footsteps to create similar business models.
Is this the future of e-commerce sales on Twitter? The end of the promoted tweet and the beginning of the purchase tweet? Could well be.