- Twitter is getting rid of its “Buy” button, a tool businesses could use to embed purchasing options directly into tweets, according to reporting by TechCrunch. A similar “Donate” button for charities and other causes will remain.
- TechCrunch said that users of the platform Shopify are now receiving official notice of the change from Twitter. An excerpt from the note reads: “Starting February 1st the Twitter sales channel will no longer be available as a result of the Twitter team pivoting away from their ecommerce focus.”
- The Buy button was launched in September 2014 but never really took off with either brands or consumers, per TechCrunch. It’s long been suspected that the Buy button would be rolled back at some point, as reports from months back claimed Twitter had stopped product development on the tool and disbanded its commerce team. Neither the Buy button nor Twitter's commerce team have been prominently mentioned by the company since July 2015.
In Twitter’s ongoing reinvention to figure out what it wants to be, the answer clearly isn’t an e-commerce platform. The elimination of the 'Buy' button is essentially a death knell for the company's direct commerce capabilities, at least in their current iteration. As TechCrunch notes, Twitter announced it would sharpen web conversion strategy in September, an early sign that direct commerce wasn’t going to be a focus forging ahead into this year regardless, but the latest news confirms it.
E-commerce is becoming essential for some social players such as Instagram, which is testing shoppable photos that serve largely the same purpose the Buy button did, allowing branded posts to directly link to product pages for purchase. Twitter, however, has little traction in fields such as influencer marketing and is still mostly used by brands as a customer care platform, one of the few areas where it remains key.
Plagued by stagnant user growth and sluggish ad revenues, Twitter has begun axing a variety of its auxiliary business features, likely in a bid to ensure some measure of profitably. The Buy button will officially be rolled back on Feb. 1, per the Shopify notice, the same day Twitter is reportedly killing off lead generation campaigns for marketers. And, just last week, the company announced it would be shutting down its Dashboard app for businesses two days later, on Feb. 3.
Twitter laid off 9% of its workforce following Q3 earnings reports back in October and announced it would be eliminating its Vine app around the same time (Vine has since been re-purposed as a Twitter feature called Vine Camera). The company’s next earnings call is on Feb. 9.