Twitter today begins testing a purchase option among a select group of subscribers who will begin receiving options to buy from a few dozen brands, recording artists, and nonprofits. Names involved in the pilot include Brad Paisley, Burberry, Global Citizen, Home Depot, and Megadeth.
A Twitter corporate blog describes the test as an early step toward turning Twitter into a functional commerce platform. Tweets from brands will present both Android and iOS users with exclusive offers. Once they tap on an initial buy button, they’re taken to another screen with larger product presentation and pricing information (see below). Pressing a second buy button on this page sends the buyer to a confirm screen and the transaction submitted to the merchant.
Individuals’ payment and shipping information is encrypted and stored in Twitter’s database for use in subsequent transactions. Twitter will not note purchases on subscribers’ timelines or profiles. At this point, the company says that personally identifiable information obtained from purchasers will be shared only with the merchants filling their requests.
“This is targeted right at direct-response advertisers and brands as we head into the all-important Q4,” says Dayna Moon, senior director of social at 3Q Digital. “With this release, I think you can expect to see a slight shift in budgets — especially if the handful of test users show good results.”
Twitter’s move into Internet retail has been widely expected since the company named ex-Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard its head of commerce last August.