Twitter rolling out ‘buy’ button; impulse shoppers beware


Impulse shopping online got a little easier Monday with Twitter’s announcement that it will begin testing a “buy” button on tweets.

The San Francisco-based company plans to gradually roll out a product that will enable users to make purchases with just a few taps.  “This is an early step in our building functionality into Twitter to make shopping from mobile devices convenient and easy, hopefully even fun,” Twitter said in a blog post. 

Twitter has tapped Stripe Inc., a San Francisco-based payment company, to allow credit card purchases with only a few clicks, Twitter’s head of commerce, Nathan Hubbard, told Bloomberg News.

This isn't the first time Twitter has dabbled with e-commerce.

In May, Twitter teamed up with to make it possible for users to add products to their Amazon shopping carts through tweets. To do so, users respond with "#AmazonCart" to tweets containing links to products from the online retailer. 

Other social media sites have shown interest in e-commerce in the last few years, including Facebook.

In 2012, Facebook added an e-commerce feature allowing users to buy and send gifts to one another, but later discontinued  it and instead is testing a buy button in its ads, according to TechCrunch

Social bookmarking site Pinterest is also dipping into e-commerce with "Rich Pins," which give more details about a product, including the price. No buy feature exists yet.  

To e-commerce expert, Ken Wisnefski, the gradual addition of the buy button seems desperate. "While this new feature is intriguing, it's not likely to make a huge impact on the revenue of Twitter," Wisnefski said in a recent report.

"The nature of Twitter is quick, fast information, not e-commerce," he said.

For now, Twitter’s buy feature will only be used by select nonprofits, retailers such as Home Depot and artists such as Keith Urban.

Twitter seemed to have mixed reactions to the buy button on the site.