Twitter is pushing forward with its e-commerce ambitions.
The social media platform said Wednesday it's started testing a new feature called Twitter Shops that allows businesses to display up to 50 products in an online catalog. The company said hundreds of businesses in the US are participating in this experiment. Some of the merchants include Verizon, Nigerian food delivery service All I Do Is Cook and Gay Pride Apparel.
People who use Twitter on their iPhone in the US will be able to browse through products on Twitter Shops by clicking on a "View shop" button. To purchase an item, users will be directed to checkout on a merchant's website. Twitter said the feature is free for merchants and the company doesn't process payments or take a cut of sales.
Twitter Shops is another example of how social media companies are doubling down on online shopping, an activity that has only increased in popularity during the coronavirus pandemic. Twitter has also unveiled other shopping tools such as a dedicated space on a user's profile to showcase products and live shopping.
While Twitter makes most of its money from ads like other social networks, it's not well-known as a place for shopping. Other social media sites such as Instagram and Pinterest that also have shopping tools feature a lot of lifestyle content. Still, brands have used Twitter to drive chatter about new items or reach out directly to customers.
"People are already talking about products on Twitter. We want Twitter Shops to be the home for merchants on Twitter where they can intentionally curate a catalog of products for their Twitter audience and build upon the product discussions already happening on our service by giving shoppers a point of action where a conversation can become a purchase," Justin Hoang and David Lie-Tjauw, who manage products at Twitter, said in a blog post.
The release of new shopping features could also entice Twitter users to spend more time on the platform. Twitter, which has a new CEO, set a goal to reach 315 million monetizable daily active users by 2023. Twitter currently has 217 million daily users.