Twitter has launched a pilot of “Shop Modules,” a feature that allows businesses to showcase a selection of their best-selling products at the top of their profile. For merchants, Shop Module could offer a new way to convert browsers into sales, if the feature makes it out of the testing phase.
In its announcement, Twitter’s Bruce Falck said, “Fundamentally, it’ll give us the chance to keep learning about which shopping experiences people prefer on Twitter.”
This pilot program comes on the heels of Professional Profiles, which began in April 2021 and gives businesses, non-profits, publishers, and creators the opportunity to display additional information on their profile, like their address and hours. Professional Profiles is also designed to help merchants, but with more of a focus on in-store shopping.
With these new features, Twitter is attempting to become more commerce-friendly. While Shop Module is early in its pilot program and isn’t yet available to any company that wants it, it’s worth keeping an eye on because it may provide a big boost for certain sellers.
How Shop Module Works
It’s pretty simple. The Shop Module is a dedicated space at the top of the user’s profile directly above their tweets that contains a carousel of products.
When you tap on a product, Twitter takes you to a product detail page through an in-app browser. From there, you can read more about the product or make a purchase.
Other Companies Have Been Launching Similar Features to Promote B2C Businesses
Google built out its Google My Business profile pages this past holiday season. And Facebook added Facebook Shops last year to make mobile-first buying and selling easier.
Keep in mind this isn’t the first time Twitter has tried to expand its shopping features. As their Shop Module announcement notes, Twitter introduced a Buy Now button and product pages in 2015, with varying degrees of success. The Buy Now button was eventually killed in 2017.
We suspect Shop Module will have more success than Buy Now, if only because the earlier feature never seemed all that important to Twitter executives. Back in 2015, Twitter was more focused on growing its user base.
What Shop Module Means for Businesses
Shop Module is only a trial, with 12 businesses across lifestyle, retail, and entertainment taking part. It may take some time before it expands to small- and medium-sized businesses, but that seems to be a goal. In Twitter’s announcement, Falck said, “We hope to more easily address the needs of businesses of any size or vertical in our product innovation.”
Right now, only US English Speaking IOS Twitter users can see Shop Module. So when will the feature expand? It’s unclear, but we can look to their other projects for hints. News has started to trickle out that the previously mentioned Professional Profiles feature is moving closer to a full launch.
Shop Module Won’t Be A Hit For Every Kind of Merchant
Should Shop Module become available to any business that wants to use it, there will likely be some noticeable sales boosts. That won’t be the case, though, for every business.
Shop Module will probably work best among companies whose customers frequent Twitter. That means young people. As of February 2021, 42% of Americans ages 18-29 use Twitter. That number drops to 27% of those 30-49, and 18% for people 50-64 years old.
Twitter users also tend to be more affluent than the average American. 77% of them earn more than $75,000 a year. So there is money to be spent on B2C goods.
We think clothing is probably a good bet, for example. Riding mowers? Maybe not so much. But hey, we could have the Twitter market all wrong. Regardless, we’ll have to see how the Shop Module trial works. Businesses should be ready, because it could be an option for many of them in the next few months.