Right after Facebook began testing a Buy button that enables its users to make purchases straight from their News Feeds, Twitter strikes back with the news that it has acquired CardSpring, a mobile payment start-up whose platform could let developers build credit card-linked offers such as electronic coupons, loyalty cards, and virtual currencies. With this acquisition, Twitter is no doubt betting on its mass platform, with its innate blurb-y style and targeted hashtags, to effectively distribute those integrated offers. In this tight race towards social e-commence dominance, this move might just give Twitter a little edge over Facebook.
In a predicable yet still interesting move, Facebook has started testing a new feature on its news feed ads and page posts: a native “Buy” button designed for enabling one-click purchase without leaving the site. Diving deeper into e-commerce integration, the social giant is working with some select small business partners in the US to try out this new direct purchase function, aiming for further roll-out if the trial proves successful. With Facebook taking the lead, we expect to see more and more digital platforms joining in the trend of build-in e-commerce infrastructure.
Square announced today that it’s adding support for Bitcoin to its mobile payments service, which means that buyers can import the digital currency into its mobile wallet and use it to pay for items on the Square Market in stores that support the service. The goal, as far as Square is concerned, is to maintain the product’s relevance as digital currencies become more mainstream, and to ensure that their adoption into the platform is as painless as possible. It’s interesting because one of the biggest barriers to widespread adoption of Bitcoin has been the fact that mainstream retailers don’t accept the currency in their stores; but, if Square accepts Bitcoin in its wallet and the financial transaction is carried out through Square, it means that retailers won’t necessarily notice a difference in their bottom lines as long as the money comes through the Square platform. If alternative currencies are to be accepted by a broader part of society, look for mobile payments providers to play a big role.
Twitter has been making noise about an e-commerce solution for some time now, and if reports are to be believed, the microblogging site is close to finalizing the details of the platform. Primarily, Twitter is working to close a deal with Stripe, which would be an ideal back-end solution for making Twitter-based purchases. From a Front-End perspective, Twitter is in discussions with several e-commerce outlets to arrange purchase through feeds. And according to code found on Fancy.com – which points to mock-ups of a potential Twitter Commerce solution – Twitter is looking for Twitter Commerce tweets to appear within users’ streams, much like Promoted Tweets that advertise products, in addition to working within the Discover section to tailor content to users’ wants and follows. At that point, Twitter would prompt you to enter your credit card information, and handle the purchase from there.
It’s all part of Twitter’s plan to add revenue streams as quickly as possible in light of its IPO. In order to sustain its initial success the company now must worry about erasing the common conception that it is a non-profitable startup, and adding new sources of revenue quickly – and effectively – is one powerful way of doing just that. Whether users take to it, however, will be the most important question facing Twitter’s user experience team as they try to make the platform not only user-friendly, but readily accessible.
Square, the mobile payment startup, introduced Square Cash, which is their form of sending and receiving cash over email. The service, much like Google Wallet, Venmo, and others, lets you send money by simply adding the amount of money you wish to send as the subject line and copying firstname.lastname@example.org on the message. To receive the money, you just click through the email onto the Square Cash website, where you enter the debit card information for the account you want to transfer the money into. It works with any email address, and provided you have square, you’re all set. It’s another very viable player in the mobile payments sphere that’s increasingly heating up.
According to reports, Facebook is offering mobile shoppers the ability to pay with Facebook via their login credentials the same way that users can pay with PayPal, and the pilot program will feature JackThreads. Facebook users often already have credit card details on file with Facebook if they’ve purchased Facebook Credits and Gifts, and those members would be able to use those same stored details to purchase real-world items from mobile apps without having to re-enter credit card information. It would provide Facebook with an immense amount of detail about purchasing habits and e-commerce intent, and would also stack up as a formidable contender to PayPal’s present dominance of the mobile e-commerce market.
Pinterest continues to prove itself as a valuable e-commerce platform, and today it took another big step forward in the pinterest-as-purchasing medium. The social network is now sending email updates when a user’s pinned item drops in price, building off of the May release that provided users with information about pricing and availability of pinned items. There are no customization options as of yet – it’s presently just an opt-in or opt-out preference setting – but expect to see the service built out in the coming months. In combination with Pinterest’s already commerce-ready platform, the world of social purchasing continues to burgeon.
Many restaurants use Yelp or Zagat stickers as validations of their quality – displaying reviews on their windows functions as social evidence for customers looking for a dinner. Nordstrom is hoping that they can create an equivalent system for retail commerce via Pinterest. The store is tagging some of its most pinned items with the Pinterest logo in-store. It’s a way of telling customers that people want the product, as well as a way of indexing its digital popularity. The company has posted photos and instagrams of the experiment; so far its only in select stores, but it will be interesting to hear from customers in the near future whether or not they are more likely to purchase a Pinterest-tagged item.
I disagree with the assertion in the article that this has larger implications. It seems to me to be a lot more difficult than just accessing the supermarket mobile website from anywhere, rather than having to go to an empty lot and wave your phone around just to get the same stuff. This project strikes me as an example of making something unnecessarily difficult.
Zaarly Anywhere: buy anything you see online, custom made for you