Twitter is now testing a way for consumers to discover and buy products on the social media platform. So far, it’s paired up with a mix of music acts like Eminem and Brad Paisley to Burberry and the Home Depot. But could movie ticket sellers like Fandango and theaters owners or studio home video divisions and video game publishers be far behind?
Through its partners, select tweets will feature a “Buy” button, letting users purchase directly from the post. Additional product details are displayed before users are prompted to enter shipping and payment information.
The company said that the e-tailing move is “an early step in our building functionality into Twitter to make shopping from mobile devices convenient and easy, hopefully even fun,” said group product manager Tarun Jain in a blog post.
Music acts taking part include Brad Paisley, Beartooth, Death From Above 1979, Eminem, Demi Lavato, Hunter Hayes, Panic at the Disco!, Paramore, Pharrell Williams, Megadeth, Keith Urban, Ryan Adams, Wiz Khalifa, twenty one pilots, Soundgarden and the New Pornographers.
Retailers include Burberry, the Home Depot, while nonprofits taking part are Donors Choose, GLAAD, Glide, Global Citizen, RED, the Nature Conservancy.
Not a single movie studio, online ticket seller, theater operator or video game maker was mentioned in Twitter’s blog post Monday, a curious omission.
That could change, considering that Twitter only is testing its e-commerce sales with a small percentage of U.S. users, expecting to grow that base over time, it said.
And it’s initially turning to exclusives to encourage sales. For music talent, the test is seen as a way for them to turn their followers into sales with merchandise fans can’t get anywhere else.
Yet if successful, Twitter’s test could also be used by the entertainment community to sell tickets, digital versions of movies and TV shows, physical Blu-rays and DVDs and games.
Theater owners certainly have an incentive to turn to Twitter.
In July, Nielsen released a study that found that 87% of Twitter users said their most recent decision to see a film in the theater was influenced by tweets.
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Twitter users also tend to be a more captive audience for movie-related information, with an estimated 65% saying they follow a film-related account, which includes specific titles, theaters and actors.
And 88% of Twitter users take action after seeing a tweet about a film, either through watching the trailer (44%), tweeting or retweeting about the film (41%) or chatting about the pic or searching for showtimes and tickets.
Some ticket sellers like Fandango already have embraced Twitter as a sales tool.
In April, NBCUniversal-owned Fandango launched a program to sell movie tickets via Twitter in movie-related tweets.
Fandango’s Twitter Card feature lets users access details on current and upcoming films and tap a button to go to Fandango and purchase tickets. Sony’s “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” and Legendary and Warner Bros.’s “Godzilla” were the first films to take part in the test.
Studio homevideo divisions could soon follow suit with their own tweets that encourage purchases — marketing divisions already use Twitter to promote new titles, especially early Digital HD releases. A promoted tweet with an embedded link to make a sale through a partner’s website wouldn’t be too difficult to set up.
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Twitter turned to the Fancy, Gumroad, Musictoday and Stripe platforms to produce the initial test.
In a blog post, the company ensured that security is at the forefront, with payments and shipping information encrypted and safely stored after the first transaction, so consumers can make future purchases without having to re-enter the information.
The overall goal, of course, is to find more ways for Twitter to generate revenue outside of advertising and promoted tweets.
While the company claims that 1 billion people have created accounts, only a quarter of them are active on the platform.