Social media platforms like Twitter and Pinterest are rolling out expanded buy-button options in time for holiday shopping. The goal: Make it easier for reluctant users to shop on mobile.
Buy Buttons to the Rescue
Despite spending more time on their smartphones, users still eschew shopping on their phones in favor of desktop or laptop computers. Americans will spend about half of their online time this year on mobile phones, but mobile purchases will only account for one-fifth of eCommerce sales, The New York Times reports.
That’s perhaps because the desktop environment—with its larger screen size and keyboard—is easier to navigate and more accommodating for typing information like credit card numbers.
Enter the buy button. Woven into apps like Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube, buy buttons should reduce the friction users experience when they shop and purchase on mobile.
On Twitter, expanded buy buttons will make it possible for users to buy products directly from a Tweet, or shop collections of products without ever leaving Twitter.
For example, DIY company Brit + Co promoted a bright fanny pack with a buy button. In a few clicks or taps, users insert payment information and purchase. Credit card numbers are stored for future use, making the next purchase even easier.
Fanny packs FTW! This one is exclusive to Brit+Co. Shop to it on Twitter! http://t.co/1vzgotySzE
— Brit + Co (@BritandCo) September 30, 2015
Users can also load offers from a Tweet to their credit or debit card. For example, users could nab a $2 cash back offer when spending $5 or more at a coffee shop. Users tap “get offer” to connect their credit card account; after they spend the money via that card, the rebate is noted on their statement.
Similarly, Pinterest announced an expansion of its buy button program so more brands can create shoppable pins. Users on iPads or iPhones can search the app for “party dress,” for example, and get results including buyable items denoted by a blue “Buy it” button. Checkout works “seamlessly,” Pinterest says.
Judging Buy-Button Effectiveness
In theory, buy buttons will make it easier for customers to purchase things they like immediately when they see them on social media platforms, where many users already go to get product ideas. Brands that employ buy buttons as part of their social media marketing strategy will presumably see a lift in sales.
But just how effective they are remains to be seen.
Much of Pinterest’s huge trove of Pins aren’t for sale any longer—meaning the actual number of items users can shop may be relatively low. Plus, as Sucharita Mulpuru from Forrester Research notes, Pinterest requires merchants to send real-time data about inventory and item availability. “That’s onerous in a category like fashion where size and color detail are critical and constantly changing.”
On Twitter and Instagram, buy buttons are problematic because they are so fleeting, so selling large volumes on Twitter is unlikely. But one area where a Twitter buy button could work is a limited-quantity flash sale. That tactic has worked for Dell, Mulpuru notes.
Brands should keep an eye on these options as their capabilities expand. Once they evolve, buy buttons could play a key role in enticing mobile purchases.
For social media marketing insight, check out Skyword’s webinar on content marketing and the social web.
About the Author
BiographyMore Content by Krystal Overmyer