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With CardSpring Deal, Twitter’s E-Commerce Strategy Emerges in Time for Holidays

CardSpring will help Twitter give retailers the ability to offer online-to-offline promotions to Twitter users.

Vjeran Pavic
Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

Online shopping directly from a tweet should be here by the holidays. In the meantime, Twitter is shoring up its entrance into the physical world of shopping, too.

Twitter announced this week that it intends to buy a young company called CardSpring for an undisclosed sum. CardSpring enables retailers to offer online shoppers coupons that they can automatically sync to their credit cards in order to receive discounts when they shop in physical stores.

Coupled with the in-tweet shopping, the online-to-offline promotions that CardSpring encourages will give Twitter a two-sided e-commerce strategy to pursue.

Twitter has experimented with these kinds of deals for American Express customers in the past. For example, an American Express cardholder who links a credit card account with a Twitter account can tweet #AmexBestBuy and automatically get a statement credit when he or she spends $250 in a Best Buy store.

But the CardSpring acquisition, which should become official this quarter, will allow Twitter to formalize and broaden this type of offering and make it even easier for shoppers to use. While Twitter users currently have to tweet a specific phrase to get a discount, in the future they might be able to simply click a button in a tweet to load the discount to their cards, according to a source with knowledge of Twitter’s thinking. If these are embedded in promoted tweets, Twitter’s ad business could see a boost, too.

Such a feature could be used by retailers to target location-based deals to Twitter users. The move also gives Twitter a way to make some money off of shopping done in the physical world — which still accounts for 85 percent or more of all commerce in the U.S.

None of this slows down Twitter’s foray into online shopping, as Re/code has reported. The source confirmed that Twitter’s goal is to roll out a feature that would allow users to purchase a product right from a tweet in time for this holiday season. As Re/code previously reported, Twitter will most likely work with payments company Stripe to help facilitate in-tweet purchases.

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