Twitter is a social networking site that has gained extreme notoriety in the public eye for serving as a lighting-quick delivery system for news and information from a variety of sources, such as celebrities, journalists, commentators and even ordinary people. Often times, when a story is breaking, news outlets will use Twitter to keep in contact with their audience, with live play-by-play information on a breaking story. It’s also used by celebrities to promote products, music, movies, interviews, etc. The “trending” topics have always served their purpose of keeping the general audience informed with what everyone is talking about.
Other than all of that, the site hasn’t had a particular purpose. But now, Twitter has expanded its meaning of “Promotion” and cut out the middle man entirely, announcing an experiment in e-commerce. Meaning, if Taylor Swift wants to sell you her latest t-shirts, she no longer has to link you to her site via a Tweet, but instead, her Twitter can now feature a working store. In essence, Twitter is becoming an alternative website that users can use to sell merchandise.
Igor Bonifacic of Mobilesyrup points out that the social media’s e-shop, in its initial phase, is still a work in progress, with many items in the shops sending customers to third-party websites:
“More often than not, however, it’s not possible to buy something directly from this page; instead, the user is sent to a separate storefront where they can complete the purchase. Like the specific product pages, it’s possible to see tweets, images and videos relating to all the products that are featured in a collection. In general, collections aren’t a comprehensive listing of all the products a brand like Nike might have on sale.”
The store is a considerably interesting project, to say the least. At the moment, Twitter does not take a percentage of the sales, much like Amazon, eBay and Etsy are prone to do. Instead, it’s (currently) a free feature to use by Twitter affiliates with something to sell. However, that may change in the future if the venture is deemed profitable. The e-shops are available through the main desktop Twitter page, or the Android and Apple apps, for easy, one-click availability. Of course, time will tell if the average Twitter user will be in any way interested in what Twitter has to offer beyond rapid news, discussions and the occasional joke.