Twitter ‘looking to move into ecommerce’

February 1, 2014 1:36 am

Twitter ‘looking to move into ecommerce’

By Hannah Kuchler in San Francisco

Twitter appears to be preparing to enter ecommerce by allowing users to buy goods straight from the messaging platform, a plan leaked on the internet suggests.

The web page details a partnership with Fancy, the New York-based social commerce provider, which counts Jack Dorsey, a Twitter co-founder, as a board member and investor.

In Twitter’s characteristic blue and with its bird logo, the page shows how a user would make a purchase from seeing a tweet with a picture of a product and a button that says “buy with Fancy”.

The page – which was discovered on an open web server by technology blog Recode – also shows how users could use the “discover” tag to find new things to buy, see detailed images and descriptions on a sale page and track purchased items on a map. Twitter would store all the credit card information and addresses securely within its mobile app and the products would be delivered the same day.

Twitter hired Nathan Hubbard, former chief executive of Ticketmaster, just before it announced its initial public offering last year, sparking speculation that Mr Hubbard would lead the social network into ecommerce.

The unprofitable company, which reports its first earnings as a public company next week, has so far generated the vast majority of its revenue from advertising, with a small portion coming from the sale of the “fire hose” of tweets.

But analysts have said that Adam Bain, Twitter’s president of global revenue, is not simply called a head of advertising because the company has broader plans for generating sales.

The company has already allowed experiments with “pay by tweet”, with American Express letting their cardholders make purchases by including promotional hashtags in their tweets. The users just tweet a confirmation and their transaction is completed.

Chirpily, a start-up based in Portland, has used “action hashtags” to allow users to buy a purchase at live events, for example, a ticket to the next match or downloads of a song during a concert.

Fancy is an ecommerce site which has always stressed its social side. Looking like the online scrapbooking site Pinterest, with lots of large, well-curated pictures, it integrates with social networks including Twitter and Facebook to encourage people to share what they want and what they have bought.

For example, Mr Dorsey has almost 200,000 followers who watch to see what he likes from $15 toothbrushes to a picnic table which keeps your glasses upright. He collects “badges” for shopping from different companies.

The company also has Chris Hughes, a Facebook co-founder, on its board and is widely reported to have raised funds from American Express and the entertainer Will Smith.

Twitter and Fancy did not respond to requests for comment. The Financial Times could not confirm the veracity of the leaked document.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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