Déjà Vu? Twitter Tries Its Hand (Again) at Social Commerce

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By Published On: March 15, 20220 Comments

It feels like we're living in a state of constant déjà vu, as Twitter announces that is launching a shopfront for its social media platform.

Twitter Shops allows merchants to sell up to 50 products on their Twitter profile, all available for Twitter users to access freely from their mobile (iPhones only so far – sorry Android users).

The news of the re-attempt at social commerce was made in July 2021 – the piloted Shop Module aimed to let users explore shoppable profiles and add to cart within the platform. “With this pilot, we’ll get to explore how our engaged, responsive and chatty audience reacts to products that are emotionally charged — like a new jersey from your favourite sports team — or that provide lasting impact — like a new skincare regimen. And, fundamentally, it’ll give us the chance to keep learning about which shopping experiences people prefer on Twitter,” wrote Bruce Falck, Product Revenue Lead at Twitter.

Twitter has tried several times to make e-commerce an integral part of its platform, but each time has resulted in a backtrack. In 2014, the platform shared a collaboration with Amazon, which turned out to be a little too risky to take off. The platform aimed for the button to ‘make shopping from mobile devices convenient and easy, hopefully even fun’. Users would tweet out #AmazonCart, which would promptly add an item to their cart. When this idea launched, Twitter’s shares plummeted from $70 a share to $42.30. Ouch.

Not long afterwards, Twitter announced the Buy Now button, which was embedded in a tweet. Despite trying, neither the users nor brands were too keen on this one, either. It was phased out in 2017. Again, ouch.

Twitter’s Buy Now button (R.I.P) | via Tech Crunch

So, what makes this Buy Now button so different, and will it actually work this time? Look, we’re not psychics at Power Retail, but past performance doesn’t indicate a super-strong trajectory. However, the new Shop Module does look far niftier than previous attempts, so there’s a glimmer of hope.

Unlike previous shopping attempts, which allowed users to buy something embedded inside a tweet, the Shopping Module features a dedicated space at the top of a Twitter profile (currently only Professional profiles, which were piloted in April 2021).

vai Twitter

Twitter’s Shop Module | via Twitter

Professional profiles that have access to this Module can upload up to 10,000 products in a CSV file, but will only be able to showcase five in the Module section at the top of a profile. The businesses will be able to include the product name, description, prices, etc. They are also allowed to choose up to 50 products to rotate through the carousel banner over time.

‘Stay tuned. Though we are in very early explorations, we’re excited about the potential of shopping on Twitter and eager to learn more as we go,” said the company on the social commerce pilot. As usual, this service is currently only available for users in the US, and there are no indicators that it will debut in Australia any time soon. But we’ll keep you updated!

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About the Author: Ally Feiam

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