Burberry's Twitter experiment enabled consumers to 'Buy' items directly from the company's timeline

FTSE 100 social star Burberry trials Twitter's Buy button

British fashion and luxury goods brand Burberry has signed up as one of the first high-profile brands to trial Twitter’s new Buy button. This e-commerce functionality enables Twitter users to purchase goods directly from a brand’s Twitter timeline, without having to leave the social media platform.

When a customer selects the Buy option, they will then be taken to a product page on Twitter. The customer will be asked to enter their payment and shipping information and, once approved, the order will be sent direct to the merchant for delivery. The new tool is intended to make shopping from mobile devices more convenient and offers sellers a new way to monetise the direct relationship they have built with their followers.

Initially, only a certain percentage of users will see the promotional “Buy” tweets and the service is currently being trialled only in the USA.

Burberry’s first foray was to offer its Twitter followers the option to purchase accessories virtually direct from the runway after a recent fashion show. A new shade of eyeshadow was made available: users simply had to touch the Buy button and the product would be sent to their billing address.

The social-media platform hopes that the ever-changing, up-to-the-minute nature of timelines and trending topics will work to its advantage in terms of selling exclusive items available for a limited time only, encouraging impulse purchases by consumers. The easier the e-commerce transaction is to complete, the more likely it is that people will use it.

"When you're talking about a consumer's payment info and commerce in general, we're going to wade very cautiously into those waters so that when larger brands jump in they can feel great about the experience," said Nathan Hubbard, head of Commerce at Twitter. "We're testing with [Burberry] and I think we'll break some ground with them and set some examples of other ways that brands can follow.

“This is the next step in that evolution. It is a way for our users to get closer to the things that they love and a way for sellers of all types to take the conversations that are already happening between brands, retailers and consumers and turn them into transactional relationships."

The American hardware chain Home Depot has also signed up to trial the Buy button.

Rival social plaform Facebook attempted to integrate an e-commerce element to its site two years ago, although the experiment failed and was withdrawn. Within hours of Twitter’s announcement about its Buy button, Facebook announced plans to reintroduce an e-commerce offering on its own site.

Twitter is a natural fit for Burberry. Of the top 100 FTSE companies, Burberry is by far the most socially active, with over three million followers on Twitter. Its closest rivals are the UK’s Coca-Cola bottling plant and ITV, with 2.5 million and half a million followers respectively, followed by Marks and Spencer with approximately 330,000 and J.Sainsbury’s with approximately 291,000, according to a recent report from communications agency Battenhall.

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