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On Monday evening a Twitter executive revealed that the company is testing a ‘buy’ button which will enable users to shop directly from a tweet. It has partnered with online payment solutions company Stripe Inc. to save a shopper’s payment details.

“For a small percentage of U.S. users (that will grow over time), some Tweets from our test partners will feature a “Buy" button, letting you buy directly from the Tweet," the Twitter blog announced. The blog added “This is an early step in our building functionality into Twitter to make shopping from mobile devices convenient and easy, hopefully even fun."

Users will get access to exclusive offers and merchandise which are not available elsewhere. They can act on them from their twitter feed. For brands and partners, it is an opportuinity to turn the existing relationship with their followers into sales. The buy button is currently available on mobile versions of Twitter.

The company has partnered with Fancy (@fancy), Gumroad (@gumroad), Musictoday (@Musictoday) and Stripe (@stripe) for the testing phase.

HOW IT WILL WORK?

According to the official Twitter blog, a transaction can be completed with a few taps. A tweet will appear in the user’s news feed with a buy button. Once you click on the buy button, you will get additional information about the product and prompted to add your payment and shipping details. Once everything has been added, the details are sent to the merchant for delivery.

Twitter believes that this can add a separate stream of revenue besides boosting ad revenues. With brands already using promoted tweets to reach potential users who don’t follow them, they can now add a ‘Buy Now’ button to these promoted tweets.

The company is adding security layers as users add payment information to their profiles. The payment and shipping information is encrypted and safely stored after the first transaction, so that the users don’t have to re-enter the data on their next purchase. It also gives you the option to remove the information whenever you want. “Your credit card is processed securely and won’t be shared with the seller without your permission," the blog adds.

ALL THAT YOU CAN BUY?

Currently you can buy music and donate as the tie up is with group of artists, bands and not for profit organizations. It will aim at selling limited edition merchandise or event tickets which explains the tie up with artist and music properties. Some of the artists that are part of the testing phase include names like Demi Lovato, Brad Paisely, Keith Urban, Eminem, Megadeath, Whiz Khalifa and Pharell. Organizations like Burberry, Donors Choose, The Home Depot, Sound Garden.

TWITTER’S E-COMMERCE BUILD-UP

With Twitter highly dependent on advertising for revenues the buy button is an effort to add new revenue streams. The company has been under pressure from investors to generate more revenue sources. Last year Twitter hired Nathan Habbard, ex-Ticketmaster, to head its e-commerce operations. His mandate was to help brands and retailers sell physical and digital goods on Twitter. In July, Twitter also bought a mobile payments infrastructure company called CardSpring.

Earlier in the year, Twitter also experimented with hashtags which let users add products to the shopping cart of an e-commerce site. In May 2014, Twitter tied-up with Amazon, the largest online retailer, for a service which let the members shop by using hashtag #AmazonCart. It acts as a ‘buy it later’ button for the online store. Once the Amazon account is linked to your Twitter account, replying to any tweet containing a product URL with the hashtag will automatically add the product in your shopping cart.

OTHER SOCIAL NETWORKS AND E-COMMERCE

Social networks like Pinterest and Facebook are also focusing on e-commerce as another revenue stream besides promoted posts and ads. All of them are currently experimenting with different forms of integrating their own versions of ‘buy now’ buttons. It is all about turning the huge follower base into potential buyers for brands.

For instance, Facebook in 2012 flirted with a Pinterest style “Collection Feature" with buy button. Last year it added a Donate Button to allow payments to charities. More recently it has been testing the Autofill with Facebook option which lets you automatically enter your payment details on third party e-commerce apps. And now, it is even letting you buy physical products from the retailers without leaving the network.

Pinterest on other hand provides allows to buy from brands they follow or the products they have pinned from the brands. For brands, rich pins and promoted pins help in converting a pin into a sale. Rich Pins are Pins that include extra information right on the Pin itself. Right now, there are five types of Rich Pins: movie, recipe, article, product and place. It also provides a feature which lets users buy gift cards for others. Pinterest also tied up with Shopify, a commerce platform. It allows eligible Shopify stores have rich pins, making it easier to get noticed and purchase form the store directly.

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