The announcement was expected, though admittedly it’s taken a while. Back in February, screenshots showing a buy button landed on the Web, while last month it emerged the social media company had done a deal with payments startup Stripe to help integrate the button into its service.
“This is an early step in our building functionality into Twitter to make shopping from mobile devices convenient and easy, hopefully even fun,” Twitter’s Tarun Jain said in a blog post, adding, “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.”
Jain said that for sellers the new feature will help “to turn the direct relationship they build with their followers into sales.”
Besides Stripe, Twitter is also working with a number of e-commerce services, namely Fancy, Gumroad, and Musictoday, to help build the platform. Twenty-eight sellers – a mix of brands, artists and non-profit organizations that includes Burberry, Eminem, and (RED) – are involved in the test phase.
You’ll see the buy button if you follow one of the merchants taking part in the test phase, or if a promoted tweet lands on your timeline.
When you see the buy button alongside a product you’d like to purchase, tapping it will bring up more information on the item, as well as a prompt to enter your shipping and payment details. Fill those out, confirm your order, and you’re all set.
With online security at the forefront of many people’s minds just now, Twitter is keen to reassure users that their data is safe with the company.
“Your payment and shipping information is encrypted and safely stored after your first transaction, so you can easily buy on Twitter in the future without having to re-enter all of your information,” Jain explained, adding that credit card information is processed securely and won’t be shared with the seller without a buyer’s permission.
With Twitter likely taking a cut of sales made through its service, the San Francisco-based company will be keen to roll out the new button on a wider scale and bring many more merchants on board before the holiday season gets underway. It could also help to boost Twitter’s ad revenue if companies are tempted by the idea of selling through tweets.
Twitter isn’t the only social media giant looking to boost revenue through e-commerce initiatives. Facebook, for example, is also testing a buy button for its own service.