our blog

Twitter’s eCommerce Plans

Twitter still holds the number two social networking site spot (source), only to be topped by Facebook. Though LinkedIn and Pinterest are not too far behind in unique monthly visitors to their sites. Could this be the motivation for Twitter’s new ecommerce plans?

The “in-tweet” commerce project has been discussed since earlier this year (longer according to some), but Twitter announced its partnership intentions earlier this week, according to Re/code. Partnering with Stripe, an online payment service, would allow users to utilize one-click buying directly from a Tweet. Since Twitter’s primary source of income is currently ads, this would provide another large source of revenue for the social media giant. But the competition in this space is steep, with companies like Amazon, eBay, and Groupon forging the way. (Source)

Furthering the confusion, Jack Dorsey, cofounder of Twitter, is the founder and CEO of Square, Inc., the payment processing company responsible for turning smartphones into POS terminals. Many are left puzzled as to why the partnership isn’t with Square. There was talk of Twitter creating its own version of Square’s Marketplace but then Dorsey’s two companies would be going head to head. And now things have clearly taken a different direction. Add to all of that the fact that Stripe is a venture-backed startup and you probably see the mass confusion. But with new leadership often comes big change and Twitter hired Nathan Hubbard, former Ticketmaster CEO, last summer. (Source)

Because Re/code is the primary source of information and Twitter has not yet confirmed anything directly, there are more questions than answers. But it’s worth discussing because this business decision will affect so many of us on the web. For instance, what will this type of ecommerce do to online retailers’ web traffic? We foresee big adjustments to traditional web sales and the analytics that accompany them. Not only that, businesses will be required to sign up for Stripe if they want in on the action and with it being so new still, have the bugs been worked out? What kind of fees are involved? What are the unknown hurdles at this point? PayPal is tried and true, will that be an option or will Strip have the monopoly?

While we don’t know if Twitter will still pursue the Square-like marketplace idea and/or other payment service partnerships, we do know that this “in-tweet” commerce is coming. Though it’s been “coming soon” since January so we’re not holding our breath. And there is still much more to discuss, such as the consumer side of things but only time will tell. Here’s the bigger question, though. If Twitter’s goal is to reach everyone in the world (sounds vaguely familiar, right Facebook?), then why not leverage this commerce option for around the world donations when tragedy strikes or when non-profits (such as alsa.org) go viral?

Stick with us as we explore the latest social media sagas. It’s almost better than daytime soaps!