Twitter's future may still be undecided, but the company is continuing to move forward with product releases in several key areas of focus including, as it turns out, e-commerce. The social media platform today announced another expansion of its online shopping efforts with the launch of a new feature, Product Drops, which will allow online merchants to tease their upcoming product launches.
The company explains that many people already come to Twitter to discuss product releases -- both before and after the drop actually occurs. They may be anticipating a new drop, bragging they scored the item in question, or lamenting that they didn't. The new Product Drop feature aims to allow merchants to be a part of that conversation, Twitter says.
With Product Drops, merchants can create a special kind of tweet that showcases the item using both text and images. Here, the merchant can craft their promotional tweet as usual and add product photos, but they'll also be able to highlight when the product will become available for purchase. Users who click on this tweet are taken to the Product Details Page where they can get the information they need to make a decision, including the product description, price, photos and more. They can also click on the hashtag to see what others are saying about the product.
Image Credits: Twitter
A "Remind Me" button is available as well, which Twitter users can click on to get a notification when the Product Drop goes live.
Because this new functionality is contained within a tweet, Twitter users can interact with it as they would any other Twitter post -- by Liking the tweet, retweeting, quote tweeting, sharing the tweet via DM (direct message) or text, or bookmarking it for easy access later on. And when users go to post about the tweet, a box provided encourages them to "join the conversation" and can include a pre-filled hashtag.
The tweet can also be Promoted using Twitter's ad tools for additional promotion, the company says.
On launch day, users who set the reminder for the Product Drop will receive an in-app notification in their Notifications tab 15 minutes before the drop and again at the time of the drop.
Image Credits: Twitter
When clicked, they'll be shown a "Shop on website" button to purchase the item directly from the merchant's website. Twitter is not playing the middleman here, in other words. This is similar to TikTok's current shopping strategy, where in-app shopping features ultimately link out to the retailer's website for the final checkout -- the social app is just serving as the top of the funnel, not trying to manage the end-to-end purchase flow. Meta, on the other hand, is aiming to power more of the shopping transactions inside its own app where users complete the checkout using Facebook Pay (now rebranded as Meta Pay).
“When a brand you love is launching something, you want to be first in line to grab that hot new thing before it’s gone. Product Drops is designed with this in mind," explained Twitter Product Manager Justin Hoang. "Shoppers can get details about the product on the Product Details Page, set a reminder so they don’t miss the drop and they can see what other shoppers are saying — all without leaving Twitter. We’re excited to give shoppers a way to do more than just talk; with Product Drops, we’re making it easier to go from conversation to product discovery to purchase," he added.
Image Credits: Twitter
Twitter says the new feature is currently in testing with shoppers in the U.S. using Twitter in English for iOS devices. At launch, it's initially working with a handful of brands including @Dior, @unionlosangeles, @HomeDepot and @Fossil x @JeffStaple. The company said it would roll out the feature to more merchants and shoppers in the future.
"From the very start, Union has been all about community and culture. With that in mind, Twitter’s been a unique space for us to connect and communicate with our community of fans and keep our pulse on the culture (sneakerheads, we see you)," said Union Marketing Director Richard Brooks in a statement. "And every time we drop, Twitter’s a key touchpoint for us to boost awareness. We’re eager to see how Product Drops helps us take things up a notch and deepen how we engage and inform our audience around upcoming launches. We can’t wait for our fans to see what we’re dropping next."
The addition follows a series of updates to Twitter's e-commerce products, including the March launch of online storefronts called Twitter Shops; livestream shopping tests in November in partnership with Walmart; new Twitter card formats for product pages; product carousels called Shop Spotlight; and more. Given that Twitter's entry into online shopping is still early, it's not yet a source of revenue, outside of the accompanying ads that may go alongside product launches or other shopping events, as it said it wasn't taking a rev share on shopping transactions.
Given the turmoil related to the Elon Musk takeover, Twitter has been reorganizing internally to focus more of its efforts on short-term user growth, Bloomberg reported. That means its more ambitious products, like Spaces and Communities, could take a backseat. What Musk's acquisition ultimately means for Twitter's future commerce developments is also still unknown.