Mobile e-commerce | A powerful option to ‘in-tweet’ commerce?
We were intrigued by Twitter's recent announcement that they were introducing 'In-tweet' purchases. That intrigue turned to disappointment for our non-US clients when we realised it was just being rolled out in the States, but it's certainly an interesting development that we’ll be able to follow for our US based clients.
As the name suggests the premise is to allow Twitter users to make purchases without having to leave Twitter.
Is this the start of t-commerce (as coined by Inspire)?
In Twitters own words here are the simple steps to make a purchase.
- Tap the Buy button within the Tweet
- You'll be brought an expanded description and image of the product. Choose your variant, e.g. size and color (if applicable) and tap Buy Now
- Enter your billing and shipping information
- Tap Confirm purchase
- That’s it! We’ll send your order to the seller who will reach out directly with shipping and support information for your order.
It sounds easy enough but here are our thoughts.
First of all, it's certainly an alternative monetisation strategy for Twitter users that want to create more direct revenue opportunities from their followers. If you're an online retailer, it could work really well for you, giving you another channel to sell your goods or services.
Imagine ticketed event based t-commerce (Ed: I see what you did there) where you can have music celebrities sell their concert tickets or latest single/album via their tweets or movie actors selling tickets for their latest movies.
This is new functionality that may add to your Twitter experience, supporting in the moment/impulse purchases.
For a company that has yet to post a profit this is a new stream of income that will support their longevity. No commercial entity can continue indefinitely making a loss.
The first major con has already been mentioned - it's US only for the time being. After a period of time we'd expect to see this rolled out globally. It strikes us that the US launch is really a pilot, albeit a pilot in their biggest market. The announcement also states the following:
"Note: In-Tweet purchasing is currently only available for users in the United States using Twitter for iPhone or Twitter for Android apps."
Again they are segmenting the offering to those users who use those App's.
That's a big issue for me, as like many people, I have the native Twitter app but it's not my preferred means of accessing Twitter. I use Twitterific, Hootsuite and Buffer. So that's a big potential barrier, and clearly an issue that they'd need to resolve.
Internet security continues to be a massive concern for business owners and consumers, and understandably both will have questions regarding Twitters latest move. How exactly does Twitter send your order to the seller? What level of encryption is involved?
I'd certainly need to see much more about that before I'd consider entering my credit card details within Twitter.
Coming to the UK?
It's safe to assume that if the US launch is even moderately successful that 'In-Tweet' purchases will be rolled out to the rest of the World. At the moment though Twitter will use the US service to gauge the appetite for the 'In-Tweet' payment system and to refine the final product, because to my mind, it's still far from complete.
A Sign Of Things To Come
What this does show though, is yet another move to support the ever growing rise of mobile commerce. So from that perspective, Twitter should be applauded.
A Better Way
We think Twitter, like all social media, is best deployed as part of your strategy to drive people to your dedicated mobile e-commerce site. Take them to where you have control of the shopping experience. Don't restrict them to making a single purchase - help them find supporting and complimentary products. Make the process easy and as straightforward as possible.
That said any new way of engaging commercially with a relevant audience based on their interests (a la Facebook) has to be worth closer examination. This comes back to Routes to Market; retailers go where their customers are and Twitter badly needs to do this if they ever want to turn a profit.
Mobile e-commerce at Inspire
If you've got an online store ask yourself this - is it really mobile ready? Or does the experience create a barrier for your clients? Whatever you're trying to do, we're confident that we can help. We've created a number of bespoke mobile e-commerce sites for our clients and have the knowledge and experience to help you sell more online. Interested to find out more? Contact David on 01738 70 00 06 to start the conversation.
David Dwyer is Managing Director of Inspire Web Development. He has years of experience in a range of web and IT roles plus seven years in sales and marketing in a blue-chip FMCG company. David’s academic and professional qualifications include a BA (Hons) in Business Economics (Personnel & Ergonomics) from the University of Paisley, an MSc in Information Technology (Systems) from Heriot-Watt University and PRINCE2 Practitioner-level certification. He is also an active member of the British Computer Society, Entrepreneurial Exchange and Business for Scotland.
Follow Inspire on Twitter @inspireltd and @developersos