Facebook Pilots 'Buy' Button as Twitter Snaps Up Payments Startup CardSpring
The line between social network and ecommerce platform is looking increasingly blurred.
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Two of the world's biggest social networks are taking marked steps toward ecommerce capabilities. On the same day that Twitter said it would buy San Francisco payments company CardSpring, Facebook announced it was rolling out a "Buy" button.
Both moves speak to the frustration among business owners who desperately want to move beyond "likes" and followers and begin making real money from their social-media efforts.
While Twitter has dipped its toes into the ecommerce pool before by offering deals via hashtag, enabling users to "Tweet-a-coffee" and even connecting consumers' Amazon shopping carts to their feeds, adding CardSpring to its arsenal could enable the network to seamlessly bridge the online and offline shopping worlds.
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CardSpring, a platform that enables developers to write apps for various electronic payment processes, paves the way for electronic coupons, for instance, that might be triggered by the swipe of a credit card. Twitter is likely to use these capabilities to offer real-time deals online that could be redeemed in-store at a later time, reports The Wall Street Journal.
Facebook's "Buy" button, on the other hand, signals an immediate call to action. It enables consumers to "purchase a product directly from a business, without leaving Facebook." A test run is being piloted on desktop and mobile versions of Facebook among several small- and medium-sized businesses nationwide.
And though some Twitter users have also spotted a "Buy now" button in recent weeks, the company declined to comment on the feature.
While Facebook and Twitter won't take a cut of sales transacted over their respective channels (yet), adding an ecommerce component could sweeten the deal for advertisers increasingly seeking to cash in on consumers' deluging feeds.
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