Twitter has acquired e-commerce platform CardSpring for an undisclosed sum to facilitate online-to-offline promotions. Retailers will be able to offer shoppers coupons and loyalty cards that they can sync to their credit cards and redeem at physical stores. The latest announcement comes on the back of news indicating that Facebook is experimenting with a ‘buy’ button allowing users to make in-the-moment purchases.
CardSpring is a start-up that develops apps for credit cards. The company’s APIs allow merchants to link with publishers to offer online-to-offline promotions and access analytic data. CardSpring said that the intersection of payments and digital media can revolutionize the way credit and debit cards are used while empowering retailers to more effectively communicate with offline shoppers.
Twitter has previously experimented with this concept. For instance, an American Express cardholder linking his credit card account to a Twitter account can tweet #AmexWholeFoods to get $20 off on $75+ purchase. Users connecting their Amazon and Twitter accounts can add items to their cart without leaving Twitter. This can be done by replying with hashtag #AmazonCart to tweets containing product links on sale at the world’s largest online retailer. The latest strategy is a bolder step towards a rich and innovative commerce experience in today’s dynamic e-tailing landscape, according to Twitter.
Retailers will soon be able to add deals, coupons and discounts to tweets. There are rumors that, in the future, users may need to just click a button in a tweet to load a discount onto their card. Twitter generates most of its revenue from ads : embedding such a button in promoted tweets can help the company’s ad business as well. With efficient management of ads and promotions, Twitter can extract maximum advantage from its yet-to-be-launched ecommerce experience. It will be interesting to see how Twitter’s strategy compares with Facebook’s.