Social media is becoming more relevant and valuable to ecommerce stores all the time. In the past, social media had a more ambiguous correlation to ecommerce sales. However, Twitter announced in 2014 that it would be testing a button that would allow users to make purchases directly from its interface. While the feature is being gradually rolled out to mobile users, it's expected to be completely available to everyone by the end of the first quarter of 2015. How does it work? Brands tweet photos or videos in a product card and a buy button is displayed beneath it so followers can simply click and enter their payment information. In fact, this becomes even easier after the user makes one purchase. Payment details and shipping information will be encrypted and stored, enabling customers to but with a few clicks in the future.

Twitter initially offered the buy button exclusively in the mobile platform, giving brands the opportunity to enhance their mobile commerce strategies. Although the test phase was limited to a relatively small group of users and brands, ecommerce merchants will be able to form a more direct connection between their social media fan bases and sales (1). Social buy buttons are an important way that these networks are becoming viable ecommerce platforms. Whether merchants are proactive about building relationships with customers through social media or not, consumers use these channels to learn more about the products that interest them. Some people ask friends who are familiar with a brand for advice before buying something.

Why is this feature so important for ecommerce merchants?

Ecommerce shoppers are already highly engaged with social media. Highlighting product offerings while giving customers the option to make an immediate purchase is a great way to capture impulse buys. In addition, social media is becoming more visual, and using product photos or videos captures attention without requiring shoppers to switch to your website. Many people do not want to leave the social platform when they are in the middle of scrolling through their timelines.

Although mobile is heavily used to browse products online, only about 25 percent of purchases occur through this channel. Mobile commerce isn't always user friendly, but social buy buttons have the potential to streamline the checkout process.

Will Twitter's buy button replace traditional online stores?

Merchants should not stop promoting their online stores. Twitter and buy buttons on other social platforms like Facebook and Pinterest should be viewed as a way to enhance mobile purchases or promote limited-time offers. The buy button will have interesting applications for highlighting specific product offerings, but listing every item you sell on Twitter isn't the best approach. Unlike Facebook, Twitter's interface is more difficult to filter. Users want to see posts from their friends, family, news organizations and celebrities, not just promotional posts from brands they like. Twitter's buy button should be used to supplement promotions you are advertising elsewhere for the most significant increase in conversions.


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