The social networking site is rolling out a beta version of Twitter Shops, which lets sellers set up a virtual storefront for customers to browse. In fact, the Twitter Shops won’t actually let you purchase anything directly – instead, you’ll be linked out to a company’s website in an in-app browser to make your actual purchase.
PUT YOUR STORE ON TWITTER
Twitter Shops extends the “shop module” that was launched last summer. Unlike the shop module, which displays just a handful of products on the profile page, the new update allows stores to have a dedicated space to display up to 50 items. The feature, which is currently deployed to a few businesses, has already been enabled for the shops. According to Twitter, the features are currently available to brands such as @Verizon, @ArdenCove, @LatinxInPower, @GayPrideApp, and @AllIDoIsCookUS. The shops are only viewable to “select merchants and managed partners in the US” and are free to use. People who use Twitter in English on iPhones in the US will see the shops for now.
Shops are Twitter’s latest attempt to reach out to shoppers, following the launch of the Shop Module. Twitter describes the feature as an “experiment,” but it has hinted at much larger plans in the space. Additionally, shopping ties into Twitter’s recent efforts to provide creators with monetization tools, where the company has been piloting shopping features in live streams.
E-Commerce Expansion And Challenges
Twitter sees e-commerce as a major opportunity. A period of rapid development followed the e-commerce expansion, during which the micro was rolling out features at a ridiculously fast pace. In any case, the challenge Twitter faces in e-commerce is how users perceive its platform. Given Twitter’s still text-heavy nature, it’s not clear how many users see it as a place to discover products. (Periscope, Twitter’s live video tool, and Vine, a TikTok forerunner, were both shut down over the years)
Meanwhile, today’s online shoppers prefer to shop on social media via Instagram photos and videos, and increasingly through TikTok videos. TikTok’s viral trends, in particular, have the potential to drive more spontaneous purchases. Statistics show 37% of TikTok users immediately purchased a product after they saw it on the platform, and 67% bought it even when they weren’t looking to shop.
There’s no doubt that Twitter wants a piece of that action, too. But competitors like TikTok don’t just add a feature tacked on; rather, it makes online shopping part of its core functionality through its immersive video and personalized home feed.