After months of speculation and high-profile hires, Twitter is finally moving into e-commerce. On Monday, the company announced it is testing a way for users to buy stuff directly from a tweet.
Rumors of the company’s move into payments have circulated for months. Now, Twitter joins Facebook in testing a “Buy” button functionality that enables users to purchase things from their mobile device with just a few taps.
The test will let people click “Buy” on tweets from a small set of nonprofits, retailers, and musicians. Only a “small percentage” of U.S. users will see tweets with “Buy Now” buttons, but it plans to expand the test’s reach over time, the company said in a blog post.
Twitter is partnering with Stripe for payment processing, confirming reports in January. In July, the company acquired payments startup CardSpring, which provides developer tools to simplify adding payment services to apps and products.
Merchants who want to put a “Buy” button in tweets will need to sign up with Stripe for now, but Twitter is planning on expanding to include other payments processors.
How Does It Work?
Twitter can make the buying process as simple as just a few taps, because it will save your credit- or debit-card numbers. The first time you buy something, Twitter will encrypt your account data and store it on its servers. That will be the only time you’ll have to type in your payment data.
The company says none of your information will be shared with sellers unless you explicitly allow it to, and it’s easy to delete such information from Twitter’s privacy settings page.
There’s no doubt advertisers will be quick to jump on board with a “Buy” button, but actually getting people to purchase things will be another trick altogether.
Twitter’s early attempts to get into e-commerce have been lukewarm at best. Considering that the majority of users go to Twitter to read and watch information about current events and get updates from friends, not to spend money, convincing them to embrace Twitter as an e-commerce option might be difficult.
Lead photo by Anthony Quintano; screenshot courtesy of Twitter