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Twitter starts testing 'buy' button feature, available for Android & iOS platforms

twitter-bird-white-on-blueBeginning today, Twitter has started testing a new feature for its users to discover and buy products on the micro-blogging site. As part of the initiative, Tweets from the company's test partners will feature a 'buy' button, enabling a small percentage of users in the US (will grow over time) to buy directly from the Tweet.

According to the company, an entire purchase can be completed in just a few taps. After tapping the 'buy' button, users will get additional product details and be prompted to enter their shipping and payment information. Once all of that is entered and confirmed, the order information will be sent to the merchant for delivery.

The company has also partnered with a number of platforms including payment solutions providers like Stripe and Gumroad; curated product discovery & purchase site Fancy.com; and Musictoday for the initial test, and plans to add more partners going forward. It is starting the test with a group of artists, brands, and non-profit organisations that include Eminem, Megadeth, DonorsChoose, 9/11 Day, The Nature Conservancy, (RED), and Burberry, among others.

Twitter claims that the user's payment and shipping information is encrypted and stored after their first transaction, so they can buy on the site in the future without having to re-enter all that information. However, you can remove this information from your account. The company also mentions that the buyer's credit card is processed securely and won't be shared with the seller without their permission.

"This is an early step in our building functionality into Twitter to make shopping from mobile devices convenient and easy. Users will get access to offers and merchandise they can't get anywhere else and can act on them right in the Twitter apps for Android and iOS. Sellers will gain a new way to turn the direct relationship they build with their followers into sales," wrote Tarun Jain, group product manager at Twitter in an official company blog post.

Here is an introductory video of the service.

Note that this is not the first time Twitter is playing around with the idea of in-app purchases. In May this year, e-commerce company Amazon.com Inc. had partnered with Twitter to launch a special hashtag (#AmazonCart) for shopping on the micro-blogging site. The new feature basically allows Twitter users to add items to their Amazon.com 'shopping carts' directly from Twitter. Initially available only in the US and the UK, the service was introduced in India in July 2014.

Last month, the company had also launched a new advertising program called 'Promoted Video'. Launched in beta, Promoted Video builds upon the Twitter Amplify program, and brings a new set of video tools to content producers. By using Promoted Video, brands can upload and distribute video on the micro-blogging site, and also measure the reach and effectiveness of the content.

The company saw its revenues rise over two-fold to $312 million for the second quarter ended June 30, 2014 over the year-ago period led by rise in advertising revenue which grew 129 per cent to $277 million. The firm said mobile advertising revenue was 81 per cent of total advertising revenue and its mobile user base was 211 million or 78 per cent of the average monthly active users (MAU) in the second quarter.

The company also named former Goldman Sachs executive Anthony Noto as its chief financial officer (CFO). He replaced Mike Gupta, who is now the senior vice president of strategic investments at the company. During the same time, it acquired mobile ad retargeting startup TapCommerce.

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