Twitter took a big step forward in its quest to become an eCommerce tool Wednesday, launching new types of “Cards” with an eye towards attracting online retailers.
As Twitter noted in its Cards announcement, more than 10,000 developers, mobile apps and websites already use existing Twitter Cards to post items such as article summaries, photos, videos and more.
But the three news Cards types – app, product and gallery – offer some new opportunities to those looking to use Twitter as a means to commerce, and compete well with some Facebook and Instagram features at a time when social commerce is really still in its infancy.
Twitter is launching with an interesting mix of partners to kick off the new Cards functions: Delectable, Etsy, Flickr, Foursquare, Gumroad, Jawbone, Path, Rovio’s Angry Birds, SoundCloud, Storenvy, Wine Library and Vine.
Let’s take a look at how the three new Cards can be used to turn Tweets into downloads or sales.
The app card displays info about an app, such as name, icon description and ratings or price, and lets Tweeters download said automatically by clicking on the blue link from a mobile phone. Twitter also says it will display info about the app in the App Store and Google Play Store if you go this route.
For partners such as Foursquare and Angry Birds, the advantage here is pretty obvious.
The new card with the most obvious link to eCommerce is the product card, which Twitter describes as a “great way to better represent retail items on Twitter, and to drive sales.” Product Cards let you show your product with an image and description, and allows for price listing and item location as well. Product Cards are available both for web and mobile.
Etsy and Wine Library are two of the initial partners who could find this feature particularly useful.
The Gallery Card option is pretty self explanatory: it lets users share a gallery of related images in a single tweet, rather than just a single image through a shared URL. Also available for both mobile and web browsing, Gallery Cards let users select 4 different photos to show at once, and allows attribution to the photographer as well. While perhaps less directly related to commerce than the first two options, the advertising potential here is pretty apparent.
We’ll go out on a limb here and wager that Flickr might just have interest in a feature like this among Cards’ initial partners.
In summation, Twitter just made it a whole lot easier for businesses to advertise their products or encourage app downloads through a pretty basic set of tools. There may not be a one-click “buy” button here yet, but it’s a big step towards eCommerce nonetheless.
What do you think? If you’re a merchant, do you have interest in using the new Twitter Cards to help sell products? If you’re a consumer, will you start browsing for products on Twitter? Let us know in the comments below.