Tweet-commerce: social media giants gear up for future of shopping

18 Jul 2014

Both Twitter and Facebook are preparing for the next evolution of e-commerce: being able to buy goods and services directly from your social network of choice.

Facebook is testing a ‘Buy’ button that lets users buy products without leaving the social networking site’s news feed.

A number of small businesses in the US are testing the button on their news feed pages.

The Buy button lets users complete the entire purchase from within Facebook.

The feature is secure and Facebook won’t be passing payment details to advertisers.

“With this feature, people on desktop or mobile can click the ‘Buy’ call-to-action button on ads and Page posts to purchase a product directly from a business, without leaving Facebook,” according to the Facebook business blog.

“We’ve built this feature with privacy in mind, and have taken steps to help make the payment experience safe and secure. None of the credit or debit card information people share with Facebook when completing a transaction will be shared with other advertisers, and people can select whether or not they’d like to save payment information for future purchases,” Facebook said.

Tweet and buy

Meanwhile, Twitter has just announced its acquisition of CardSpring to enable users to buy goods and enable “in the moment” commerce experiences.

CardSpring attaches itself to the payment network in a secure fashion on one side, and on the other it presents itself as a platform for developers to create payment apps via web-standard APIs. It is a bridge between the two networks.

“Twitter has always been a vibrant environment for users to discover product recommendations and promotions from artists, experts, brands and friends,” said Twitter’s head of commerce Nathan Hubbard.

“In fact, we’ve already given users the ability to get deals and discounts, surprise someone with a coffee, or even add items to their online shopping cart – all directly from a Tweet.

“As we work on the future of commerce on Twitter, we’re confident the CardSpring team and the technology they’ve built are a great fit with our philosophy regarding the best ways to bring in-the-moment commerce experiences to our users,” Hubbard said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years