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Twitter Will Offer 'Buy' Buttons to as Many as 100,000 Merchants With New Shopify Deal

A deal with Shopify has essentially become table stakes for social platforms as they expand into e-commerce.

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.

Twitter has been deliberate in its rollout of Buy buttons. But it’s about to make a bigger splash.

The social network is in the process of integrating with Shopify and other e-commerce software companies to offer its Buy buttons to a much wider range of businesses, big and small, according to multiple sources.

Shopify alone has somewhere around 100,000 merchants in the U.S. that use its software to run their online shops. With a Twitter deal, those businesses would be able to sell their wares within tweets using Shopify’s software.

Spokespeople for Twitter and Shopify declined to comment.

Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest have all been adding Buy buttons to their platforms over the last year, as they try to build new revenue streams from their giant audiences and take advantage of people’s interest in buying items through their platforms.

But since those three giants don’t — or can’t — integrate directly with every business that wants to sell goods on their platforms, they are turning to companies like Shopify to help. Pinterest is working with Shopify as well as Demandware, which runs online shops for some bigger brands and retailers like Michael’s and Cole Haan. Facebook, too, is working exclusively with Shopify merchants in the beta tests for its own Buy button. When Twitter’s Buy button initiative first launched last year, the company was working with smaller e-commerce software providers like Fancy and Gumroad.

So a deal with Shopify at this point has essentially become table stakes for these platforms. But it certainly does not guarantee success. It’s not proven that people want to shop on these social platforms, nor that all these merchants want to sell on social media platforms. And small merchants without strong followings on these networks may have to turn to advertisements to promote their products more broadly.

Twitter’s commerce team, led by former Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard, has been looking for ways to more prominently display products for sale on the platform so people don’t have to rely on randomly coming across a shoppable tweet in their timeline. The company launched product pages in June and is currently working on other updates to make it easier to discover products for sale, one source said.

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