Twitter has winnowed the transaction process to a few steps. After tapping "buy" in a promoted or organic tweet, the user sees product details and is prompted to enter shipping and credit card info, which is then transmitted on to the merchant. The hope is that in the mobile era, the key to commerce success lies in eliminating friction from the transaction process – something Amazon has proven through one-click buying and seamless app experiences.
But social media "buy" buttons may have more in common with Google's Product Listing Ads than they do with Amazon's buying interface.
Unlike Amazon, Twitter (and Facebook too) must help retailers connect with users. (Recording artists selling to their existing advertisers through organic tweets is a great feature, and a much lower bar.) The targeting Twitter makes available through its self-serve interface will be essential to conversion rates for these calls to action. As the company's own CFO, Anthony Noto, said in a Sept. 3 interview at the Citi Global Technology conference, the company has yet to reach a critical mass of advertisers with these opportunities.
"Some of the other companies that have been really successful in launching self-serve have been able to generate relationships with a million-plus advertisers," Noto said, according to a SeekingAlpha transcript. "We are not near that level yet and so we think we have a lot of upside."
Among Twitter's initial commerce platform partners are social shopping app Fancy, Gumroad, Musictoday and Stripe. Previously the company completed an integration Amazon allowing customers to add products to their shopping card using an #AmazonCart hashtag.