The New York Times published an article over the weekend that discusses Twitter’s much-anticipated next step into becoming a profitable business — expanding their network to include e-commerce purchases.
Twitter fans and followers avidly use the popular micro-blogging website to ask for and receive recommendations for products and services, a trend that has caused countless retailers to go online and start tweeting sales and promotions, but users may soon have the option of purchasing those products directly on Twitter’s site.
Todd Chaffee, a Twitter board observer and general partner at Institutional Venture Partners (a Twitter investor), reports that Twitter is thinking about an expansion into e-commerce as a way to monetize Twitter’s free services. Through this new hypothetical service, when a friend recommended a particular book or cell phone, etc., users would then be able to instantly get information about then purchase the item.
Mr. Chaffee went on to say, “Commerce-based search businesses monetize extremely well, and if someone says, ‘ What treadmill should I buy?’ you as the treadmill company want to be there. As people use Twitter to get trusted recommendations from friends and followers on what to buy, e-commerce navigation and payments will certainly play a role in Twitter monetization.”
It’s a great idea to exploit Twitter’s ongoing success as a forum where people are constantly discussing brands and products by allowing Twitter users to research a product, see reviews, get recommendations from their friends, and ultimately make the purchase without having to visit several different websites.
In this situation, online marketers who already track their companies on Twitter to see what customers are saying about them could be on the front lines to convert interested users into customers without having to redirect them off of the site.
According to the NYT article, Twitter is also planning on developing filters that will help users channel their tweet streams into categories based on topics, senders (friends, celebrities, news organizations, etc), and other criteria to help manage what can quickly become an unmanageable amount of updates.
There are no plans that detail if or when these exciting new changes to Twitter would take place, but when they are ready, I’m sure Twitter will have no problem letting everyone know.
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