Twitter announced this week that it is testing a “Buy Now” button to let users shop from selected merchants and artists directly from the social media network. The button will be available to a select group of users in America first before being broadly introduced. The initial sellers will range from brands such as Burberry to international recording artists.
The button represents Twitter’s biggest step into ecommerce to date and will be up against other social sites experimenting with this function including Facebook and Pinterest.
When former Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard, who joined Twitter a year ago as its first head of commerce was asked how Twitter’s commerce potential compares to social networks like Facebook and Pinterest, Hubbard emphasised two differentiators. Firstly, the presence of “influencers” on the social network who can drive users to make purchases, and secondly the fact that Twitter is a truly real-time service.
The button will sit inside a tweet and allow people to click-to-buy an item directly from that message. Once users have clicked, they will be provided with additional product details and then prompted to enter payment and shipping details. If a user is already known and registered with a service or merchant, they will be asked to tap the button again to confirm their purchase. Twitter noted that users’ payment and shipping information is encrypted and safely stored after their first transaction, allowing for future transactions without having to re-enter customer information, creating a more convenient process. This will help to enhance the customer service offered, as research has shown that many complaints are made from customers who are fed up of having to re-share personal details to brands they have previously had contact with.
With 36% of all UK online retail sales now being completed via a smartphone or tablet, numero believe that brands need to develop their customer service offering to match the real-time component that Twitter is producing. Research has shown that 32% of consumers expect a response via social media within 30 minutes and 62% expect it within an hour. The provision of customer service via social media channels has become unquestionable, and customers’ expectations are high. Brands will need to be able to offer real-time customer service to successfully support this new function.
By testing ways in which users can buy products on Twitter, the experiment is a mere early step into making social shopping easy and. With timing and convenience remaining at the forefront of customer expectations, Twitter’s “Buy Now” button reinforces the need for brands to improve their customer service offering, with shorter response times via the social media site.
Twitter said on Monday, “This is an early step in our building functionality into Twitter to make shopping from mobile devices convenient and easy, hopefully even fun.”