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Twitter Begins Testing a ‘Buy’ Button for Instant Purchases by Its Users

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Twitter is Already a real time emporium for news.
Twitter is already a real-time emporium for news, photos, video clips and 140-character snippets of thought. Now, the real-time social network wants to be a shopping mall for real products, too. The company announced on Monday that it would begin publicly testing a “buy” button that can be embedded in posts to allow users to buy a product with a couple of clicks.

The feature — initially limited to mobile versions of Twitter and aimed at selling limited-edition or time-sensitive items like T-shirts and event tickets — could eventually create a new revenue stream for the social network, which currently relies on advertising for virtually all of its income.The test comes as competition in the world of mobile e-commerce intensifies.

Still, billions of dollars of online sales are already associated with social networks. Many marketers post messages on services like Twitter and Facebook promoting their products and offering links to external sites where they can be bought.Now Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest are trying to take a step out of that process by offering customers the ability to buy advertised products instantly.

The service will then prompt them to enter credit card and shipping information or, if it is already on file, ask them to click again to confirm the purchase.“I think of Twitter as the place to connect with the things that you love,” said Nathan Hubbard, a former chief executive of Ticketmaster, who joined Twitter a year ago to lead its commerce efforts. “How can you bring a transaction into the experience to make it additive?”

Mr. Hubbard said the test would initially be limited to a small number of Twitter users in the United States and would include items for sale from 19 entities, including popular musicians like Rihanna and Eminem, nonprofit groups like the Nature Conservancy and Donors Choose, and the retailers Home Depot and Burberry for long time activity [NYTimes].

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