Facebook and Twitter make plays for the ecommerce market

Both Facebook and Twitter are making big moves to make it easier to shop via their services, with Facebook testing a “buy” button and Twitter acquiring payment startup CardSpring to help power “in-the-moment” commerce.

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Facebook’s “buy” button allows users on desktop or mobile to make purchases through ads or posts on brand pages on the site. It is being tested with a select number of small and medium-sized businesses in the US.

The service means consumers will be able to make purchases without having to leave the social network, by entering their debit or credit card details. The social network has promised it has built the feature “with privacy in mind” and says it will not share information with other advertisers.

Meanwhile Twitter announced plans to acquire San Francisco-based startup CardSpring, which helps retailers work with publishers to offer promotions. It aims to link online and offline retail, enabling customers to find offers on the internet, sync them with their credit or debit card and redeem them in store.

The move is the latest from Twitter to build out its commerce business. It is already working with brands such as Starbucks in the US to allow people to tweet a coffee to a friend and with Amazon to let shoppers add products they see on Twitter to their Amazon shopping basket.

It has also started testing a “shop now” button on ads that let people buy directly from Twitter. Plus last year it hired Ticketmaster chief Nathan Hubbard as its first head of ecommerce to lead the charge.

Hubbard says: “Twitter has always been a vibrant environment for users to discover product recommendations and promotions from artists, experts, brands and friends. 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.”

Facebook has also been trying to push further into ecommerce. It previously trialled a “Collections” feature in 2012 that included a buy button that sent people to the retailer’s website and it included a “donate” button last year to allow users to send donations to charities.

For now, both Twitter and Facebook are saying they won’t take a cut from purchases made via their buy buttons. Instead they are using them as ways to convince more retailers to advertise on their sites by making it easier for shoppers to make purchases, thus hopefully boosting conversions.

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  • […] will also affect brands looking at social commerce tools, such as trials for Facebook’s ‘buy now’ button and Twitter’s ‘shop now’ option. Likewise, Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube channel on Google-owned YouTube will soon feature an […]

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