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Twitter launches buy button, gap between social and ecommerce closing

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The button will allow users to purchase products directly from tweets. Once clicked, it will open up a page featuring further details, and a request for shipping and payment information, which will then be stored, according to a blog post on the official Twitter blog.

“Users will get access to offers and merchandise they can’t get anywhere else and can act on them right in the Twitter apps for Android and iOS.” said Tarun Jain, Twitter’s group product manager. “Sellers will gain a new way to turn the direct relationship they build with their followers into sales.”

Twitter has partnered with a number of organisations to build the new service, including ecommerce payments services provider Gumroad and Stripe; Musictoday for digital music ecommerce and Fancy, a curated ecommerce website.

This is the company’s first foray into ecommerce, however #Amazonbasket, a Amazon promotion on Twitter which allowed users to purchase products on Twitter, was launched in May. 

However, the promotion was said to be largely unsuccessful, due to multi-stage process (tweeting Amazon’s Twitter account, and then completing the transaction on their website).

Ecommerce integrated into social networks – or social commerce – has been a model for social websites for a number of years. Facebook launched a buy button earlier this year. Fancy, one of Twitter’s new partners, is half photo curation/sharing platform, half ecommerce site, allowing users to buy products shared by friends. Similar companies to Fancy include Lyst and Svpply (which was acquired and assimilated into eBay).

These companies are bridging the gap between social networks, like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, and ecommerce sites like Amazon and eBay, who adopt social features like peer product review and peer-to-peer commerce.

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