News broke on Saturday evening that Twitter is experimenting with a couple of new e-commerce features on its platform, in an effort to fight rival Pinterest and gain a cut of its lucrative e-commerce referral business.
In the first move, Twitter has launched new pages dedicated to specific places and products.
For example, searching for the name of a popular book leads to a page where there’s a description of the book, top tweets related to it, and other related media like photos and videos.
Importantly for Twitter, there’s a button that allows for the purchase the book directly from Twitter.
The concept will apply to most major products, not just books.
The company also announced “Collections” that are curated lists of products, a very similar idea to Pinterest's 'boards.'
Talkshow host Ellen DeGeneres has a 'collection' entitled “Best of the Ellen Shop,” which contains a curated selection of items from DeGeneres’ official store.
Unlike Product pages, Collections - at least for the moment - do not allow users to buy something directly from the page, instead connecting users to the online store where they can complete the purchase. Such linking to stores means Twitter can begin charging for referrals to them and taking a cut of sales transactions. The timing of this feature is notable, as it will be fully in place for the lucrative holiday shopping season this fall.
Like the specific product pages, Collections will show tweets, images and videos relating to all the products that are listed in a collection. It appears collections aren’t designed to be a comprehensive listing of all the products a brand, but rather themed assortments designed to appeal to specific groups - for instance Nike Running or Martha Stewart's Favorite Kitchen Gadgets.
Twitter currently has 41 different partners signed up for the service, including major brands like TechCrunch, Nike, The Wirecutter and Reese Witherspoon.
While Twitter does not yet take a cut of sales from transactions that are completed through its new shopping features, it will likely do so be the time the all important holiday shopping season comes around.
The new shopping features are available on Twitter's website, Android and iOS apps.