Twitter applies brakes to social shopping development

Arvind Hickman
By Arvind Hickman | 27 May 2016
New development on Twitter's buy button is on hold.

Twitter has moved members of its commerce team into other areas of the business and wound back development of its ‘buy’ button and product pages, BuzzFeed News reports.

Several members of Twitter’s commerce team have left the company and the remaining staff will either work on dynamic product ads or customer service features, which may reintroduce a commerce element down the track.

Twitter still has a ‘buy now’ button, it’s just that new product development on this part of the business is being curtailed.

In response, a Twitter spokesperson told Adweek the changes represent an increase, rather than decrease, in commerce as more staff will focus on dynamic product ads, which use algorithms to match products to users based on their browsing activity.

Twitter says dynamic product ads have doubled the click-through rate and conversions compared to normal tweets and Twitter's strategy is to put more resource into this better performing area of the business.

However, the changes represent somewhat of a retreat from much hyped moves into social commerce that promised to make it easier for consumers to purchase goods via social media channels.

Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest have been investing heavily in social commerce functionality, but it is yet to take off with tweeters. A source close to Twitter's commerce team told BuzzFeed consumers aren’t hot on the idea of buying goods via the social network and prefer to use mobile web.

Earlier this week, Twitter announced it will simplify tweets by removing multimedia images and handles from the character count in an effort to improve the user experience.

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