Twitter just unveiled new features that could change the way businesses use social media to sell products online. For now, Twitter is just considering them experiments, and is only making them available to a limited number of partners, but they show a great deal of potential. Essentially, it's like putting your online store on Twitter, where it can be shared, promoted, and searched.
Do you think Twitter can help you get more online sales with its new features? Discuss.
Twitter just announced that it is testing a couple new features aimed at helping users find more information and content about products and places. These include product and place pages and product and place collections.
Product and place pages will surface images, video, descriptions, price info, websites and buying options for products and places. Essentially, such a page will be a dedicated destination to find everything you need to know about that product or place if you're looking to make a purchase, at least in theory.
Twitter uses the example of the book "The Martian" by Andy Weir.
"We’ll show you images and a description right above the Tweets that are most timely and relevant to you," explains product manager Amaryllis Fox. "These may be Tweets from accounts you follow, relevant news updates, or popular content about the book."
Notice the "Buy on Twitter" button. On some product pages, users can make purchases right on Twitter, while on others, you'll be sent elsewhere to do so.
Kurt Wagner at Re/code reports that sellers can choose whether they want to sell directly through Twitter or drive traffic to their sites. He says Twitter isn't taking a cut of purchases for now, but that it may do so in the future as a potential revenue stream.
Twitter is only starting to "experiment" with a small number of product and places for these pages.
The other new feature is Collections, which are curated...well, collections, that point users to the product pages. Twitter has picked the following launch partners to curate the collections:
HBO, for example, has a Game of Thrones collection where you can browse merchandise by tweets, and click them to purchase the item.
Click on an item, and you'll get the product page where you can buy it. Pretty simple. HBO has elected to send users to its website.
What's really nice for sellers about these features is that that they're instantly shareable. Any Game of Thrones fan can see that Mystery Mini Blind Box and tweet it out to his or her followers, which means more potential sales, or at the very least more awareness.
They can do the same for the entire collections, which is probably even better:
Here's how the collections look on mobile:
If this gets expanded so that any business can create their own collections, it's going to be a pretty great way to drive awareness for merchandise at the very least. And keep in mind, they can always be promoted if necessary. If the functionality is expanded to enable any user to make their own collections, it will be huge. It will basically be Twitter's version of Pinterest, which is already pretty good for ecommerce.
If Twitter accounts with large followings tweet product pages or collections, it could drive mass exposure. Look for this to factor into paid tweet deals in the future.
Beyond the obvious social/sharing element to all of this, let's not disregard the search element. Twitter recently began putting more emphasis on its search experience with a redesign. We explored that in depth here.
Twitter makes a note that you can find collections using the search feature, at least on mobile. Presumably it will be added to web eventually, provided these features leave the experiment stage and become actual features, which seems likely.
The fact that Twitter is improving the logged out experience should help get products in front of non-members while also helping Twitter gain members (assuming they have to sign up to make a purchase).
It's also worth considering how much of the Twitter experience takes place off of Twitter itself thanks to embeddable tweets, widgets, APIs, etc. Products and collections aren't necessarily going to be confined to Twitter.com and the official Twitter apps. There will likely be a lot of new opportunities to arise from all of this as well.
Twitter says this is just the beginning and that in the coming months it will be introducing even more ways for users to find personalized and relevant info about places and things they want to explore. This could translate to even more selling opportunities.
Do you see significant potential for selling products online with Twitter's product pages and collections? Let us know in the comments.
Images via Twitter