With Twitter set to unleash a new ‘Buy’ button feature that will apparently offer people the scope to find and buy products directly from a Tweet, we take a look at its foray into mobile shopping, how other tech giants are getting in on the action and the evolving mobile e-commerce space.
A new wave of mobile e-commerce (or m-commerce) could be coming your way soon. That’s if Twitter has its way. Earlier this week, the microblogging giant unveiled that it is starting to test new functionality to eventually allow people make e-commerce transactions via their Twitter apps for both iOS and Android devices.
Via its blog, Twitter revealed that during the initial testing phase a small percentage of US users will get Tweets featuring a ‘Buy’ button from test partners involved in the initial trials. Seemingly, users will be able to complete a purchase following a few taps on their mobile device.
Twitter is teaming up with a selection of brands, charities and artists during the early testing phase. This will include the likes of Burberry, nature conservation organisation The Nature Conservatory, RED, the division of the One Campaign, and the musicians Ryan Adams and Pharrell Williams.
Claiming that users’ payment and shipping information will be “encrypted and safely stored” after their first transaction, the micro-blogging platform has partnered with the Irish e-payments company Stripe, along with Fancy, Gumroad and Musictoday, for the initial testing phase of the ‘Buy’ button.
Twitter wants to make mobile shopping “fun” and social
As Twitter attempts to make a foray into mobile e-commerce in an effort to generate a new source of income other than from advertising, capitalising on its some 271 million monthly active users, other tech giants such as Facebook are also trialling mobile shopping. Back in July, the social networking giant revealed how it was starting to test a new feature (with a few small and medium-sized US firms) so that people could click a ‘buy’ button on both Facebook ads and page posts via desktop or mobile to buy from a business.
The move by Twitter to home in on mobile, however, could be as a result of the hike in its userbase accessing the Twittersphere via mobile devices. In its second quarter earnings, for instance, the company revealed that monthly active users had reached 211 million, representing 78% of total monthly active users. In addition, Twitter revealed that mobile advertising revenue was responsible for 81% of total advertising revenue for the quarter.
A snapshot of mobile e-commerce in Europe and the US
What about the mobile e-commerce space in general, however?
With more and more internet users using their smartphones and tablets to hunt down and purchase products and services, the indications are that it will become even more important for e-commerce providers to go down the mobile-responsive route, if they have not done so already.
In the US, or instance, predictive analytics platform Custora recently suggested that mobile e-commerce represents a US$40bn market, up from US$2bn in 2010.
In its E-Commerce Pulse Report published in July, Custora found that between 2010 and 2014 the percentage of traffic to e-commerce sites from both smartphones and tablets leap-frogged from 3% to nearly 37%.
Turning to Europe, in the European M-Commerce Snapshot 2014 published earlier this year, business intelligence firm yStats found that the UK is leading the Western Europe region in the share of mobile retail on total business-to-consumer e-commerce sales.
Some key takeaways from the yStats report:
– Of the developed countries globally, Sweden and the UK are on a par with Asian-Pacific and North American countries in terms of mobile shopping uptake.
– Out of a population of circa 16.7 million, more than two million people in the Netherlands shop via their mobile
– A quarter of online shoppers in France were planning to make a purchase via their mobile device in 2014.
– In Germany, m-commerce sales represent more than 10% of total online sales.