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Everything you need to know about Twitter’s ‘Buy Button’

Micro-blogging service, Twitter, rolled out a brand new buy it now button back in September of last year that let ‘a small percentage’ of US users purchase products in just a few taps, direct from the social media platform.

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The service is still in its initial testing phase but the company revealed that they had plans to roll it out globally eventually.

The ‘buy’ button is embedded within tweets from selected brands allowing followers to purchase from their newsfeed without ever having to leave Twitter. It displays unique offers to users on both Android and iOS and Twitter will take a small percentage of each transaction for facilitating them.

twitters-buy-now-button

After tapping ‘buy’, users are shown additional product information and are prompted to save their credit card details with the site for convenience. For those that already have their details saved, it takes as little as two clicks to buy your favourite band t-shirt, event ticket, or other consumer product.

Some of the brands who are already involved include: Burberry (@burberry), Eminem (@eminem), Megadeth (@Megadeth), 9/11 Day (@911Day), Paramore (@paramore) and The Home Depot (@HomeDepot). Be sure to give them a follow now to see the button in action.

A game-changer?

Twitter was founded in 2006 and currently has around 284 million active monthly users. The buy button is their first real foray into ecommerce as they attempt to find other ways of monetising the free service other than adverts.

Previous attempts at expanding their marketing efforts have been attempted throughout the last year according to, Former Ticketmaster CEO and now head of commerce at Twitter, Nathan Hubbard.

These include the #AmazonCart campaign where users could tweet the aforementioned phrase and add products to their cart on Amazon.com. Starbucks also linked up with Twitter when they offered $5 gift cards for users who tweeted them.
tweet a coffee starbucks
Other social media networks, such as image sharing site Pinterest, understand the vast opportunity involved in incorporating ecommerce options to their platforms and have tested ideas without fully rolling out anything concrete just yet.

So why the hype around Twitters dip into ecommerce? As still one of the fast growing social media networks, and with a unique focus on immediacy, the ability to quickly and easily purchase products will provide an urgency that will be hard to be rivalled elsewhere online.

Privacy concerns

There is a lot of talk about what the consequences of Twitter’s ‘buy’ button will be for the U.S. company. Hubbard was keen to stress, back in September, that when a purchase is made it will not be automatically shared to millions of other users.

There is a strong emphasis on privacy although cynics mentioned that the buy button may allow businesses to tie Twitter handles to real people and open up a whole wealth of personal data to companies. Hubbard says that ‘this is not their intention’.

We will wait and see whether Twitter’s Buy Button will go the same way as Facebook’s ‘Gifts’ which died a death last year and has been replaced by their very own buy button.

The two year project never took off and Facebook’s official statement on the decision was that they’ll be “using everything we learned from Gifts to explore new ways to help businesses and developers drive sales on the web, on mobile, and directly on Facebook”.

Twitter’s 8-and-a-bit year history

Video courtesy of Mashable

Twitter is always testing and redesigning aspects of its service. Only last year, we saw the introduction of the new Twitter profile page that looks similar to Facebook and many social media sites before it.

June 2012 saw the original Twitter font and logo replaced for the slick looking bird we instantly recognise today. Going back to 2010 and we find the largest Twitter upgrade to date. The layout change then is essentially what still exists in the current version.

Also, apps for mobile devices were only first developed for Twitter in 2010. Scary. Going back even further to 2008 and the first verification program for celebrities, which is today automated by Twitter.

Will the new ‘Buy’ button be hailed as 2014’s great landmark for the company or will it end up in the social media update graveyard?

Let me know your thoughts and experiences with the feature in the comments below, or you can reach me on Twitter: @Midas_Anna (I’m not selling anything on there I promise… yet!).

Anna Schäfer

Author: Anna Schäfer

Inbound Strategist, Inbound Marketing & Analytical Marketing. I love reading novels, love snowboarding and I'm a tea drinking convert!

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