Shop on Twitter: Here’s what small businesses need to know

Here’s what the launch of shopping features on Twitter could mean for small businesses.

Twitter may not be the first social media platform that comes to mind when you think of online shopping, but that could soon change, as the company gets set to launch a new commerce feature called Shop Module.

Shop Module will provide a dedicated space at the top of profiles where businesses can showcase their products and customers can click on individual products to learn more and make purchases without leaving Twitter. It is currently being tested by a handful of brands in the US, including GameStop and Arden Cove.

“With this pilot, we’ll get to explore how our engaged, responsive and chatty audience reacts to products that are emotionally charged — like a new jersey from your favo[u]rite sports team — or that provide lasting impact — like a new skincare regimen. And, fundamentally, it’ll give us the chance to keep learning about which shopping experiences people prefer on Twitter,” the company stated.

The feature builds on Twitter’s recent launch of Professional Profiles, which allow businesses, non-profits, publishers, and creators — anyone who uses Twitter for work — to display specific information about their business directly on their profile, including their address, phone number, operating hours, and more.

While Twitter is still in the early stages of its move into online shopping, it clearly sees potential in the space. So what does it mean for you and your small business?

Is Twitter worth your time?

Firstly, you have plenty of time to plan your approach since Twitter hasn’t even announced when the Professional Profiles and Shop Module features will roll out globally. It’s currently still testing them in the US market. Secondly, if you don’t already have a Twitter profile, you should carefully consider whether it’s worth the time and energy to set up and maintain one.

Twitter’s active user base ranks 16th behind several of the world’s leading social media platforms, such as Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, WeChat, TikTok, Snapchat, Pinterest and even Reddit. And advertisers on Twitter only reach 13.6% of the Australian population aged 13 and over and only 10.4% of the New Zealand population aged 13 and over.

If you don’t already have a large following on Twitter, you may be better off investing in other social media platforms with a bigger active user base, where you’re more likely to reach new customers. However, if you do already have a Twitter account, or you feel that the platform is the right fit for your target audience, the launch of shopping features could be an opportunity to grow your business.

If that’s the case, you’ll probably want to start by promoting your most popular products in the Shop Module carousel at the top of your profile until you have a better understanding of the types of products customers respond to on Twitter. Product launches could be a key area of focus, given the sharp skew towards news in the app. But it’s also worth noting which products Twitter thinks will do well: those that are “emotionally charged” or “provide lasting impact”.

One thing to note is that many businesses use Twitter for real-time customer service today. Savvy customers know that calling out a company on Twitter will often result in their problem getting solved faster than if they go through a generic email address. So if you start selling products directly on Twitter, you should be prepared to receive even more customer service requests on the platform and make sure you allocate sufficient internal responses to respond.

Tapping into social commerce is a great way to boost your sales. And with ready access to finance through hummpro, you can handle the upfront costs of meeting increased demand.