Twitter ‘Shops’ accelerates platform’s social commerce agenda

In an effort to expand Twitter Shopping features, the social media platform is experimenting with ‘Twitter Shops’ by allowing companies to showcase up to 50 products for sale on their profiles.
10 March 2022

The tale of Twitter and its cybersecurity negligence. (Photo by Glenn CHAPMAN / AFP)

  • The beta test for Twitter Shops will be available for select businesses in the US and will be visible on Twitter iPhone app
  • Several brands wereselected for the test beta, including wireless carrier Verizon
  • Retail social commerce sales in the US is forecasted to rise by 24.9% to US$45.74 billion in 2022, per Insider Intelligence

In 2015, Twitter was in the early stages of exploring commerce on the social media platform, exploring features like the “Buy Now” button, dedicated product pages, and product collections. Twitter eventually stepped back from its shopping pursuits to focus on other areas. Until last year, when the idea and intentions resurfaced, amidst the soaring global social commerce market.

“We’re also thinking about commerce. Helping people buy things on Twitter. We want to be really thoughtful about how we do this so that we’re helping advertisers find their customers and continue to own that relationship with the customer,” a March 2021 tweet by Twitter Investor Relations reads.

Since last year, the social media giant has refocused on social commerce once again and has been “putting more energy into testing out the potential for shopping on Twitter”. 

Twitter’s social commerce pursuit

In a blog post yesterday, Twitter’s staff product manager Justin Hoang announced that the social media outlet is launching a beta experiment for the newest member of their Twitter Shopping family — Twitter Shops. 

Under Twitter Shops, merchants can handpick a collection of up to 50 products, to showcase to shoppers via Twitter. “The feature, which is free to use, gives people the chance to view products from the profiles of their favorite brands, so when you talk about and discover products on the timeline, you can now browse them on Twitter, too,” Hoang noted.

Currently, Twitter Shops is available only to select merchants and managed partners in the US. Twitter said businesses that have their Shops enabled already include wireless carrier Verizon among others. At this point, only people in the US who use Twitter in English on iPhones will be able to view and interact with Twitter Shops.

For context, Twitter Shopping features include the Shop Module, Live Shopping, and Shopping Manager. The latest addition, Twitter Shops, “is part of a larger effort to better support professionals of all kinds – from small businesses and creators to big brands – who come to Twitter to do business,” Hoang said.

The US retail social commerce sales is forecasted to rise by 24.9% to US$45.74 billion in 2022, according to Insider Intelligence.Shop Module is one of Twitter’s first steps forward. Source: Twitter

“The Shop Module is a dedicated space at the top of a profile where businesses can showcase their products. When people visit a profile with the Shop Module enabled, they can scroll through the carousel of products and tap through on a single product to learn more and purchase — seamlessly in an in-app browser, without having to leave Twitter,” Twitter’s revenue product lead, Bruce Falck, said in a blog posting.

While their Shop Module allows merchants to showcase up to five products directly on their profile, Twitter Shops gives merchants a larger, fully-immersive space to highlight a longer catalog of products. After Shop Module, the next step was the introduction of Live Shopping in November 2021.

Twitter’s software engineer manager Siddharth Rao said they conducted their first test of Live Shopping in collaboration with Walmart to kick off Cyber Week. At the same time, Rao introduced Twitter Shopping Manager, which is a “new way to house merchant onboarding and product catalog management tools,” Rao added. 

“This will give merchants a one-stop-shop for managing how they show up on Twitter. We know there is so much more for us to explore, test, and iterate upon – and we’re looking forward to rolling out more products that will make shopping on Twitter easier than ever. Stay tuned for more,” he said.

‘Shoppertainment’ platforms and offerings have been taking the e-commerce industry by storm. In fact, based on a report from Accenture, social commerce is forecasted to grow three times as fast as traditional e-commerce, more than doubling from US$492 billion worldwide in 2021 to US$1.2 trillion in 2025.

Interestingly, the report estimated that about half of all US adults made a purchase via social media in 2021. “In 2022, US social commerce sales are expected to reach US$45.74 billion, with more than a half of the country’s adults making a purchase on social media,” the Accenture report indicated.

Separately, based on Insider Intelligence’s Social Commerce 2021 study, social platform shopping is expected to be a key source of e-commerce growth especially in the US and China.