Cheat sheet: Twitter experiments with shoppable cards

twitter gears

Twitter is taking another crack at social shopping.

The platform is trying out a new shoppable card format that allows users to link to a product page from a tweet. The new cards include the name of the product, the shop name, the price and a “Shop” button. A Twitter user named Yasser Masood spotted the feature earlier this week.

The key details:

  • For now, the shoppable cards are being tested in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa on Android devices.
  • This experiment is not happening in isolation. A Twitter spokesperson confirmed the platform has several more commerce-focused experiments in the pipeline.
  • Twitter tried a similar feature in 2015.

Twitter tried product pages before

This is not the first time Twitter has tried to facilitate shopping on its platform. In 2015, the company tested out product pages and curated collections. Collections were more focused on browsing products in curated lists. One example was Nike’s collection for the then-new LeBron Elite clothing line. Some product pages also listed prices and sometimes a “Shop” button. While product pages ended in 2016, the new Shop cards could be Pages 2.0.

“The bigger question in my mind is where Twitter’s strengths are,” said eMarketer analyst Debra Aho Williamson. “Twitter doesn’t have the scale of Facebook or Instagram, and it’s not a contextually relevant platform like Pinterest. Twitter is also a more social than entertainment platform, it’s hard to imagine them reaching same level of discovery and sharing that’s currently taking place on Instagram or Facebook.”

It’s unclear if Twitter will impose any fees for affiliate links, or plans to partner with a payment platform. Twitter declined to share additional details about its future plans for the new card format.

Playing commerce catchup

Shoppable cards are another way Twitter is trying to step up its product offerings. “If you compare us to our peers on the market, this is especially stark,” ceo Jack Dorsey said at Twitter’s Analyst Day on February 25.

That same day, Dorsey admitted to being “slow” to roll out new features. Of late, Twitter has also rolled out projects like Spaces, live audio chatrooms, newsletters, and subscriptions for “Super Followers,” a program to give users access to exclusive content from creators.

This is one of the latest examples of social media platforms vying for a piece of the social commerce pie. Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and TikTok already have features that allow users to purchase products on their platforms.

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