Twitter pushes e-commerce further with new shopping tool

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Brands use Twitter to market new products and reach customers.

James Martin/CNET

Twitter is moving forward with its e-commerce ambitions.

allidoiscook-shop

One of the companies testing Twitter Shops is All I Do Is Cook, a food delivery service.

Twitter

The social media platform said on Wednesday it had started testing a new feature called Twitter Shops that allows businesses to display up to 50 products in an online catalog. The company said hundreds of companies in the United States are participating in this experiment. Some of the merchants include Verizon, Nigerian food delivery service All I Do Is Cook and Gay Pride Apparel.

People using Twitter on their iPhones in the US will be able to browse products on Twitter Shops by clicking a “View Shop” button. To purchase an item, users will be directed to checkout on a merchant’s website. Twitter said the feature is free for merchants and the company does not process payments or take sales cuts.

Twitter Shops is another example of how social media companies are doubling down on online shopping, an activity that has only grown in popularity during the coronavirus pandemic. Twitter also unveiled other shopping tools such as a dedicated space on a user’s profile to showcase products and do live shopping.

Although Twitter makes most of its money from advertisements like other social networks, it is not well known as a place to shop. Other social media sites such as Instagram and Pinterest, which also have shopping tools, offer plenty of lifestyle content. Still, brands have used Twitter to spark discussions about new items or reach out to customers directly.

“People are already talking about products on Twitter. We want Twitter Shops to be the home of merchants on Twitter where they can intentionally curate a catalog of products for their Twitter audience and build on the product discussions already happening on Twitter. our service by giving shoppers a point of action where a conversation can become a purchase,” Justin Hoang and David Lie-Tjauw, product managers at Twitter, said in a blog post.

The release of new shopping features could also entice Twitter users to spend more time on the platform. Twitter, which has a new CEO, has set a goal of reaching 315 million monetizable daily active users by 2023. Twitter currently has 217 million daily users.

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