ProductPages530Twitter has taken a significant step into online commerce with the launch of new Product Pages. These are designed to streamline the shopping experience on Twitter and let you bring together product imagery with purchase details and Tweets about the product.

This is not the first time that Twitter has experimented with social and online shopping, but the feature feels more developed than many we have seen before, with launch partners from Target to Nike and Penguin Random House. A typically ‘Collection’ will include a range of products from the retailer – for example a range of books from Penguin. An individual Product page will then include the item for sale – imagery, videos and a description – reviews and comments from across Twitter and a link to purchase.

Given the large volume of data that Twitter has on individual users, this structure seems well suited to targeting – individuals can be targeted by retailer, individual collection or even specific products. They are taken directly to a page where they see information from the retailer, as well as from other Twitter users, and can click through to purchase.

From a retailer perspective, this is an interesting way to gain benefit from the audiences on Twitter but also from the comments and discussions that their products are already attracting there. These can now be used to directly support the sales of individual items – every Tweet, discussion and review of a product on Twitter can be tied back to the Product Page and so help to drive sales.

As Twitter is looking for new ways to develop, grow its users and revenues, getting commerce right from the platform would help to diversify its monetisation from just selling advertising. Pinterest is currently the social platform that is best suited to a shopping experience (and it launched its own ‘Buy’ buttons earlier this month. But Twitter has the opportunity to pull in richer data about users and about products to get targeting right and to help support the sales process with information and reviews.

None of this is new, of course, with Asian messaging apps such as WeChat having similar shopping experiences for over a year now. For Twitter to make a success of its ventures into social and online shopping there is much it can learn from what is already happening in the Asian market and in messaging apps. If they don’t get it right then somebody else will.