Commerce has been on Twitter's roadmap for a while now, but on Monday morning the company announced on its blog that it has finally taken the plunge. The team has begun rolling out "buy" buttons in posts to a small group of users to test the waters, with just under 30 merchants signed on at the outset.
Since most Twitter users won't be able to shop just yet, the in-app purchase flow goes a little like this: When you see a post with a "buy" button, you can click it to be moved over to a product page that shows you pricing and shipping information, size selection and product details. Hit "buy now" and the item's yours. As with many mobile commerce checkouts, you only have to enter your credit card information once and then it's saved to your Twitter profile. (To that end, Twitter writes in its blog post, "We built this test experience with your trust and security at the forefront.")
To make the commerce actually happen, Twitter has partnered up with payment provider Stripe, along with Fancy, Musictoday and Gumroad (as the New York Times notes, those last three will work on order fulfillment and product pages). The majority of the first sellers are musical artists (Demi Lovato, Keith Urban, Pharrell), with social organizations, charities and a small handful of retailers filling out the rest of the list.
Completely unsurprisingly given its digital bent, Burberry is the first fashion brand to jump on board with Twitter commerce. But more notably, it's one of the few retailers signed on at launch, period. The other one is Home Depot. While the British brand has long styled itself as a tech leader in its own sector, this is a good way of making that ambition known to the rest of the world.
One of the questions about how Twitter commerce will play out is the real-time nature of sales blasts — how do you convince users to buy in the moment? Burberry has some ideas on that front already. According to a rep for the brand, a limited number of its spring 2015 nail polish colors will go on sale on Twitter as soon as they hit the runway during London Fashion Week, a move that uses both exclusivity and the heat of the live fashion show to push through purchases. Smart.