Twitter announced that they are testing something that looks very much like Google Shopping. According to the Twitter Blog:
The first experience we’re testing is a new way to surface and organize relevant Tweets about products and places on dedicated pages. These pages will feature images and video about the product alongside information such as a description, price, and an option to buy, book, or visit the website for more information.
Tweets will show up in someone’s feed, organically or as a result of being promoted, and they will have a link to a product page or a collection of products.
Once you select a product, it will take you to a page that, as seen above, includes a description and Tweets about the product. The goal behind attaching Tweets to product pages appears to be to create a quasi-review page, but it is currently a hot mess, and that’s putting it kindly. The algorithm designed to select Tweets to display on these pages is only slightly better than a random Tweet generator.
Aside from the fact that you’d get better results by rigging up a Magic 8 Ball to a Twitter server, the issue with attaching Tweets to product pages is that you may end up with a negative viral campaign. Every time some airplane does something stupid, a seemingly daily occurrence, they end up getting flamed on social media.
The last thing merchants probably want is to see a zillion negative Tweets associated with their product sales pages, so that algorithm needs to be reworked yesterday. Alternatively, Twitter could just turn the curation of these Tweets over to the brands creating the product pages.
Another potential issue with the system is that it adds extra steps to the sales funnel, as was pointed out by AdWeek. Once you click on a product page, you’ve still go to click to buy, which then takes you to the actual sales page. If you’re coming from a group of products, you’ve got even more clicks to arrive at your final destination.
In spite of the bugs, it seems like a very good idea, and there are a variety of product pages and curated lists already up. Game of Thrones, Target and Nike are already hawking their wares with the new system.