As part of its ongoing efforts to expand into e-commerce, Twitter today announced a new partnership with Shopify. The deal will see Twitter launching a sales channel app that will be made available to all of Shopify's U.S. merchants through its app store. The app allows merchants to onboard themselves to Twitter's Shopping Manager, the dashboard offered by the social media company where sellers can access product catalog tools and enable other shopping features for their profiles.
The news follows Twitter's recent launches of shopping-related features, including this month's introduction of a “Product Drops” feature, and Twitter's earlier launches of mobile storefronts and livestream shopping. Meanwhile, Shopify says orders placed through partner integrations, like Twitter, quadrupled in the first quarter of 2022.
Merchants will be able to use the new sales channel app to connect their Twitter account to their Shopify admin then get set up with Twitter's Shopping Manager and other free tools Twitter built for “Professionals.” This includes Twitter's launch of a new feature called Location Spotlight, announced earlier this month, which allows local businesses in the U.S., Canada, U.K., and Australia to display information like their street address, contact info, and operating hours directly on their profile.
Currently, merchants can enable either Twitter Shops, a Shop Spotlight, or a Location Spotlight. But the company told us it's working on giving merchants the option to enable more than one of these features at the same time.
After linking their Shopify and Twitter accounts, merchants can use the new app to sync their product catalogs to Twitter. This saves considerable time and energy, as previously, that inventory would have to be entered manually on Twitter's platform. As their Shopify catalog changes, those will also be synced to Twitter's Shopping Manager, as well.
One earlier adopter of this feature, @TrixieCosmetics, agreed this was an improvement.
“The Twitter sales channel makes it quicker and easier to meet our customers wherever they are. The automatic syncing is going to help us save so much time, and the sales channel allows me to easily connect the two platforms that we already tap into to sell products and engage with customers,” Trixie Cosmetics Senior Social Media Manager, Jessica Stevens, said in the announcement.
When inventory is synced, merchants can use Twitter Shops and Shop Spotlight features to help customers discover their products on the social media platform and make purchases. Those transactions will take place on the merchant's own website. Related to this, Twitter Shops and Shop Spotlight are also now exiting beta testing and will be made available to all merchants in the U.S., Twitter says.
“Reaching potential customers where they are is critical to the success of Shopify merchants,” said Amir Kabbara, Director of Product at Shopify, in a statement. “Twitter is where conversations happen, and the connection between conversations and commerce is vital. Our partnership with Twitter, and the launch of the Twitter sales channel, will let merchants seamlessly bring commerce to the conversations they’re already having on the platform,” Kabbara added.
Twitter sees the potential in bringing more e-commerce brands to Twitter, as these same companies also make up a sizable portion of Twitter's advertiser base. As the company explained last year, it aims to help people buy things on Twitter as this also helps advertisers find their customers and continue to own those relationships.
Unlike Meta's e-commerce efforts, where many shopping transactions take place in-app using Meta's own payments system Meta Pay (previously Facebook Pay), Twitter directs users' clicks to brands' own websites. However, Meta has a more developed e-commerce strategy, where it's given “Shops” its own tab in the Instagram app. Twitter Shops, by comparison, aren't centralized in such a way — they're found on individual business's Twitter profiles.
Twitter also today highlighted the potential for e-commerce when noting there were 6.5 billion tweets mentioning businesses on its platform in 2021. As it pointed out when announcing Product Drops recently, Twitter users are already having conversations about brands and products on its app, so allowing those customers then complete the transaction via Twitter makes sense as the next step.
The company declined to share how many brands were testing the Shopify app before launch, nor could it disclose how many businesses have now adopted Twitter Shops.
The Twitter partnership was one of several product announcements from Shopify today, as part of its new twice-annual showcase, Editions, where it will continue to share its latest commerce innovations. The company also announced ties up with other big tech companies Apple and Google with regard to Tap to Pay on iPhone and local inventory on Google, respectively, among other things.