Twitter Buy Button Allows In-App Shopping - InformationWeek

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9/9/2014
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Twitter Buy Button Allows In-App Shopping

Tweets from select brands will feature embedded Buy buttons that let users make purchases without leaving Twitter's iOS or Android apps.

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Twitter made its move into the ecommerce market official this week with the launch of a new button that lets users purchase goods and make donations with just a few clicks. A small percentage of US users will see tweets that include a Buy button, Twitter said, and this number will grow over time. This feature is limited to mobile versions of Twitter right now.

Twitter will test the new Buy button with 29 artists, brands, and nonprofit organizations, including Brad Paisley, Home Depot, Burberry, and GLAAD. To purchase a product or make a donation, Android and iOS users need to tap the Buy button, enter in shipping and payment information, then confirm the purchase.

"Users will get access to offers and merchandise they can't get anywhere else and can act on them right in the Twitter apps for Android and iOS," the company said. "Sellers will gain a new way to turn the direct relationship they build with their followers into sales."

[Popular social apps may track your every move. Read Location Tracking: 6 Social App Settings To Check.]

Twitter said it designed its Buy button with security in mind. When you make a purchase, Twitter will encrypt your payment and shipping information and won't share your credit card details with the seller without your permission. It will, however, share your name, shipping address, and email address with the seller, which the seller may use to send you marketing information.

Twitter will also store your encrypted credit card information after your first transaction to make subsequent transactions easier. You can remove this information at any time from your profile by visiting the Payments and Shipping tab within your Twitter settings.

This isn't the first time Twitter has tested in-app shopping. In May, Twitter partnered with Amazon to launch a feature that let you shop from your feed: If you saw a tweet with a link to an Amazon product that you wanted, you could reply to it with the hashtag #AmazonCart. Amazon would then place that item in your shopping cart for you to purchase later. The Amazon partnership required you to leave Twitter in order to complete your purchase, while the Buy button completes the transaction in-app.

Twitter has also bolstered its technology around mobile promotions in recent months. In July, it acquired CardSpring, a payments infrastructure company that lets merchants create credit-card-linked promotions such as digital coupons, virtual rewards, and loyalty programs, then connect these promotions with purchases at their store. Payments for purchases using the Buy button, however, will be handled by startup company Stripe, according to the social network.

"This is an early step in our building functionality into Twitter to make shopping from mobile devices convenient and easy, hopefully even fun," Twitter said.

Twitter's move to include a Buy button follows Facebook's buy button launch, which was announced in July. Facebook's Buy buttons are featured in ads from a handful of small and midsize businesses and let you purchase a product directly from a business without leaving Facebook. 

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Kristin Burnham currently serves as InformationWeek.com's Senior Editor, covering social media, social business, IT leadership and IT careers. Prior to joining InformationWeek in July 2013, she served in a number of roles at CIO magazine and CIO.com, most recently as senior ... View Full Bio

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jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
9/10/2014 | 9:54:33 AM
Better Twitter Buttons?
The BUY button was inevtiable, but it's yet another service that goes the route of commerce and ads to stay alive. I wonder if there isn't a future for a good communications  tool that can self-support from the users. Twitter has great promise to be a better communication and information tool than it is now (imagine the button said "KNOW MORE, or LEARN MORE").

But, with so much of email and messaging being free for so long now, the financial model for social media, or at least the path to revenue, is commerce and ads.
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
9/10/2014 | 11:43:04 AM
Losing soul?
It was bound to happen eventually. Twitter had to find a way to monetise its audience in yet another way, but unfortunately it feels like the more adverts and money making ventures that it adds to our streams, that it loses a lot of what made it great. 

 
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
9/10/2014 | 2:24:55 PM
Re: Losing soul?
...just like Facebook. It's inevitable with nearly any free service.
NEBiz
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NEBiz,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/10/2014 | 2:56:49 PM
Re: Better Twitter Buttons?
I do not see a button in my feed. All I see is a re-direct link to a Gumroad site on which to make the purchase.
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
9/10/2014 | 3:23:40 PM
Re: Better Twitter Buttons?
What I would like to know is does it then automatically tweet your purchase to the twitterverse?

I've been outted by Facebook on a couple occasions when I clicked some link to purchase in my feed - then my husband comes home and says - I see you went shopping today!  Blast!  Foiled again by Facebook.  I could see Twitter betraying my confidence as well.

Anyone know?
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
9/10/2014 | 4:21:49 PM
Re: Better Twitter Buttons?
Good point about protecting the privacy of purchases. I don't know what twitter will do, but to be safe, don't buy from Facebook? What's the answer?
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
9/10/2014 | 4:36:36 PM
Re: Better Twitter Buttons?
Even if i saw something I wanted to buy via Facebook, I think I would leave FB and go to the main site to buy it.
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