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Social media – the new shop window?

By Jake Ingleby, Head of Digital at Bluestorm

It’s something that’s been in the rumour mill for quite some time, but Twitter has dropped the biggest hint yet that it’s set to make a move into e-commerce. Earlier this month, users received an email to tell them that Twitter is to start testing a “buy” button.

The idea is to generate more money from its users, in addition to the advertising revenue it gains already. Users can purchase through Twitter, in a fashion, already. This has involved users sending public messages with a special hashtag in front of them to confirm purchase.

The button will sit inside a tweet and allow people to simply click to buy an item directly from that message. If a user has already registered with a service or merchant, they simply have to click again to confirm purchase

Firms such as fashion brand Burberry are one of 19 partners supporting the test phase, alongside singer Rihanna and non-profit group Nature Conservancy. It is thought the first items to be sold will be time-limited, such as event tickets.

Although it could be a while before this new technology reaches the UK, as it’s only being tested with a small percentage of users in the United States, it proves there has been a change in the way people like to buy online. In the fast-paced world we live and work in, people are demanding things a lot quicker – they want their news instantly, their music immediately and their purchases to be as swift as possible.

In the past, there was a reluctance to use mobile sites for shopping, with many preferring a computer or tablet – a desktop site – to make their purchase. But this is changing. We use smartphones for a whole host of activity, including downloading music, banking and social media, with research showing that consumers are gaining confidence in buying via their smartphone.

Last year, a survey showed that consumer willingness to buy goods and services through mobile devices increased, with around a half of UK smartphone owners happy to spend over £10 on their mobile. The research, which was carried out by performance marketers Intela, found that 40 per of Brits are now more likely to make a purchase over their mobile device compared to the year before. And this is constantly increasing.

People can now shop around the clock. Consumers can order things before they go to bed and be wearing/using it the next afternoon. As far as e-commerce is concerned, this new trend for “on demand” shopping has opened new avenues. Not only will social media soon be a form of e-commerce, but there will be a pressure placed on brands to have an excellent mobile version of their website, in addition to their desktop site.

Whether buying direct through social media is a success or not, only time will tell. But one thing is for sure – your website still remains your main shop window. This means with new ways to shop, it’s more important than ever before to have an excellent e-commerce site.

Looking to spruce up your e-commerce site?

Talk to us. Whether you are already trading and want to up your game, or you’re thinking of selling online for the first time, we can help. Our web design team can advise on the entire set-up, including payment methods, custom pricing and delivery options. Every online shop we make is beautifully crafted to meet individual requirements and is designed to stand alone as one of your core sales channels.

For more information, email Gareth Moore at

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