In today’s digital environment, it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t shop online.
Retailers tempt with exclusive products, special deals and shipping incentives; and Cyber Monday is quickly on its way to taking over Black Friday, just about the biggest brick-and-mortar shopping day of the year. E-commerce has the world wrapped around its proverbial finger, but what about s-commerce, or social media commerce?
Platforms such as The Fancy (sort of like a purchase-minded Pinterest) are in on the game, and Facebook started rolling out a "Buy" button in July. But people today move at a rapid-fire pace, and need something to keep up. Enter Twitter’s new Buy button.
“We are beginning to test a new way for you to discover and buy products on Twitter,” the company announced last week. “This is an early step in our building functionality into Twitter to make shopping from mobile devices convenient and easy, hopefully even fun. Users will get access to offers and merchandise they can’t get anywhere else and act on them right in the Twitter app.”
Already tested out by influential retailers such as Burberry, nonprofts such as The Nature Conservancy and music acts including Parrell Williams, the “Buy” button works like it sounds. Within the Twitter app, users can view a tweet offering a product. If they like what they see, they simply need to tap “Buy Now” to pull up more details, enter shipping and payment info and, done.
Although results of the test run haven’t been provided, I think this will be a game-changer in terms of how brands do business on the Web, and on social media to boot. It’s a streamlined and straightforward way to make a purchase, and it’s intuitive. It speaks to the ever-present need to get things done and get them done fast. Where networks such as The Fancy and Facebook encourage browsing, Twitter’s buying feature works just like the platform itself: real-time and easily consumed on the go.
This tool is in beta for just the elite members of the Twitterverse for the time being, but it doesn’t mean you can’t plan ahead. Brands with marketable goods and services are wise to start thinking about how they can make use of the "Buy" button for success once it’s available to all. Sure, clothes and music are a great fit for this, but ponder how you can step outside the box and be an early adopter in your industry.
For hotels, for example, this feature could act as an excellent sales tool. When new seasonal packages or meetings promotions roll around, tweet them out with the option to buy. Booking directly isn’t supported (yet), but a Twitter follower could easily purchase a voucher and connect with you to arrange their visit. You could take it one step further and create a great first impression, as well as maybe secure a true social media evangelist. When Twitter-sourced fans check in, greet them with a special treat and a note encouraging them to tweet about their stay with a preset hashtag.
Nonprofits could use “Buy Now” to sell event tickets and make donations by creating buy amounts. It would be much easier to manage, and perhaps more likely to make people feel at ease, than a buy-with-hashtag situation. Or, for agencies or inidviduals touting expertise, you could peddle whitepapers and access to webinars reserved just for your loyal Twitter fans. Any brand could build excitement and high-quality followers by releasing regular specials on a certain day, too – people would quickly look forward to “Travel Deal Thursday” or “Webinar Wednesday.”
When you think of all the pieces of brand marketing that go out today, it can get overwhelming.
It’s actually more noteworthy when a brand declares that it won’t engage in social media platforms, since it’s basically a given these days that all reputable brands are engaging in social media.
But how much does that activity actually cost?
That’s exactly what Percolate addresses in its latest infographic, where it breaks down the actual cost of various marketing activities: