With other forms of social media already commerce enabled, Twitter finally joins the online shopping community with the launch of new Twitter-specific commerce and advertising platforms.
Twitter looks set to become e-commerce enabled via two different means – one through a third-party platform named Chirpify, and the other via Twitter’s own advertising platform being opened to small businesses.
First launched in 2011 under the name Sell Simp.ly, the Twitter commerce platform turns Tweets into transactions, allowing both consumers and businesses to buy, sell, donate and transact on Twitter. After sign-up, all a merchant needs to do to put an item on sale in the Twitterverse, is to Tweet a listing with the product image, and those who want to buy the item reply to the Tweet with the word “buy”. Paypal processes the sale and a receipt with shipping information is emailed to the merchant and buyer – it really is as simple as one, two, tweet.
Potential Twitter sellers (Twellers?) can choose from three account levels, Basic, Pro and Enterprise, and costs vary depending on the level selected.
The differences between the account levels are the fees and support available. A Basic Level account charges a 4% flat fee per transaction, while the Pro Level will set a user back $49 per month, however the transaction fee is lowered to 2%. Pro Level users are also given access to email tech support. At Enterprise Level, the monthly fee is reportedly quite hefty, although merchants utilising Chirpify at this level are not charged any commission.
For the seller, it’s easy to get started, following three steps as outlined below:
- Login with a Twitter account;
- Connect to PayPal, the only payment platform used by Chirpify to manage transactions; and
- Complete a profile and shipping address form.
Merchants are not restricted by the number of transactions they can facilitate and Chirpify is definitely designed for basically anybody that wants to sell something.
It all sounds very familiar, minus the bidding, and it will be interesting to watch how the Twitterverse evolves as a marketplace, and influence other digital marketplaces.
Twitter’s Advertising Platform
As of March, Twitter, in a joint venture with American Express, will give small businesses restricted access to Twitter ads. Although the self-service advertising platform was initially launched in November, Twitter has since made some changes to its model in order to open it up to small businesses.
Presently, AMEX cardholders and merchants who use Twitter will be the only ones able to utilise the platform, with American Express giving $100 in advertising credits to the first 10,000 that sign up. Twitter apparently plans to open up advertising to more small businesses throughout the year.
The platform is designed so that small enterprises will be able to utilise the platform to set a budget and target based on geography. Charges on the advertising are based on pay-per-performance based, and only accrued when merchants gain new followers or users engage with the Tweets. The $10,000 minimum bid requirement that was in place when the platform was first launched has now been removed.
So armed and loaded with all the information, it’s time to ask the important question – with the phrase ‘t-commerce’ already claimed by tablet devices, how will we be referring to Twitter Commerce in its short form?