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Twitter shows its ecommerce ambitions as ‘buy now’ button appears on mobile

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Stuart Thomas: Motorburn Editor
Stuart Thomas joined the Burn Media team in 2011 while finishing off an MA in South African Literature. Eager to prove his geek credentials, he allowed himself... More

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It looks like Twitter may just be about to get serious about ecommerce. In the last day or so, tweets started appearing with an embedded “buy now” button.

The tweets, which were first uncovered by tech news site Re/code, showed products that were shared by mobile shopping app Fancy.

While tapping the button didn’t actually do anything (although some users reported being taken to checkout when they tapped the button earlier in the day), and the prices were completely beyond any sense of reality — a pair of sneakers was retailing for US$170-million — it does show that Twitter is at least considering some form of ecommerce implementation.

Twitter-Buy-Now

It’s easy to see why it would want in on that market too. Ecommerce is now a trillion dollar plus industry and, in Twitter’s case especially, the margins on conventional advertising remain perilously narrow.

Testing out buttons to existing ecommerce players however also means that it can benefit from relationships with them without having to invest directly as Chinese social giant Tencent has done.

It would do well however to heed the lessons from rival Facebook’s own disappointing efforts in the ecommerce space.

One thing’s for certain though: a “buy now” button would be a lot more seamless than the deal it recently struck with Amazon that allows you to tweet products into your Amazon shopping basket using a hashtag.

It’s also pretty obvious that it would be something Twitter could actually take financial benefit from in the long term.