Twitter has introduced a new shopping feature called Twitter Shops, which will allow merchants to curate a collection of up to 50 products to showcase on their Twitter profile.
The mobile-first feature, which is free to use, aims to encourage users to go from talking about products on Twitter’s platform to actually clicking through to browse the merchant’s selection, then check out.
Unlike competitors, these transactions aren’t taking place on Twitter itself. Instead, users will click the “View Shop” button above the merchant’s tweets to visit their shop. Then, when the customer is ready to make a purchase, they’ll click on the item to be redirected to the merchant’s website to complete the transaction. This experience takes place in an in-app browser.
The feature is free to use and Twitter is not currently monetizing the new product while in testing. Twitter Shops is built upon other efforts the company has made in e-commerce in recent months.
Last summer, Twitter began a U.S. e-commerce pilot that allowed users to browse products from a “Shop Module” at the top of the merchant’s profile. However, this module only offers up to five products for users to scroll through. The new Twitter Shops give the merchant the ability to feature a larger catalogue, which they can upload via a CSV file.
The file can contain up to 10,000 products, including their name, description, pricing and other details, allowing the merchant to easily rotate the selection of the 50 products showcased on their profile over time.
In addition to the Shop Modules, Twitter began testing a new live-stream shopping platform last November, with Walmart as its first beta tester. Twitter says Walmart saw more than 2 million views during the live-streamed event, but it didn’t disclose to what extent that led to conversions. Live Shopping has since rolled out to other managed partners, including food delivery brand Gopuff and Samsung.
The new Twitter Shops, plus the Shop Module and Live Shopping feature, are housed within Twitter’s Shopping Manager, an entry point where merchants can set up and manage the available shopping features. This Shopping Manager is now available to Twitter’s managed partners, the company notes.
Today’s online users tend to shop on social media via photos and videos on Instagram, and increasingly through videos on TikTok. The viral nature of TikTok’s trends, in particular, can encourage more spontaneous purchases, with TikTok telling its creators in an event last month that 48% of users had at one point immediately purchased a product after they saw it on the platform, and 67% bought even when they weren’t looking to shop.
For the time being, Twitter Shops will only be available to Iphone users. The social media site hopes that the feature will soon be available to all users of the platform as they continue to work out the kinksof this new venture.