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Twitter could let users shop online

06 February 2014 - 11:13 by Graham Miller

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Twitter is one of the world's largest social networks, but unlike Facebook, it has yet to find a way to really monetise its service and is scrabbling around for a solution which will generate real revenue.

One option seems to be the integration of online shopping, as the Financial Times reports this week that Twitter could be looking to make it possible for its hundreds of millions of users to buy items direct from within the service.

This will be made possible by e-commerce platform, Fancy, with the idea being that a tweet mentioning a product or service can be tagged with a link, allowing people to click to buy whatever they want.

This news emerged as a result of a leaked internal document, which showed the initial design being considered by Twitter as part of this integration.

Rather than relying on a third party platform to handle sales, Twitter would store all of the relevant payment information for its users, so that shopping online would be a more seamless process, at least in terms of transactions.

This would also encourage a greater number of impulse purchases, because getting items ordered and on their way will not involve a separate sign-in process.

Users would not just passively wait for products to pop up in their Twitter timeline before buying, as the document suggests that the 'discover' tag will also be harnessed, to help make things more visible.

This is good news for advertisers and retailers, although when it comes to the consumer end of the bargain, the usefulness of the e-commerce features in Twitter will all come down to how well they are implemented.

Facebook has tried similar tactics to try and get more people buying direct through its site and apps, although advertising is still its key source of cash.