Square’s New Marketplace: A Launch Pad for Shopping on Twitter?

square marketTwitter has been adding a variety of features to its advertising capabilities over the past year. The improvements have been impressive, but one of their features, Twitter Cards, could be starting to change the way businesses sell to customers and how those same customers shop online. The best showcase of this in action is Square’s new online marketplace, and it’s been in the headlines since yesterday.

Square’s Online Marketplace: Square Market

Back in April, Twitter made some important changes to Twitter Cards, a type of tweet that can give Twitter users direct access to content you want to sell to customers. The system works fine now on mobile and desktop browsers. Square recently embraced Twitter Cards with its new Online Marketplace and has caught the attention of online businesses and tech reporters everywhere.

To jump right into the news, Steven Musil reported on CNET last night that “Square … is branching into e-commerce to take on the likes of eBay and Amazon.” Taking on eBay and Amazon is no easy task; those two behemoths of online shopping control a large portion of the market and are actively expanding their reach day in and day out. Still, Square (recognized most for its credit card readers and business services) believes it can take them on with Square Market.

The beauty of their idea is the fact that, as Marcus Wohlsen at Wired writes, “Square Market not only acknowledges the reality that small retailers can no longer afford to remain offline-only; it gives them a tool to obliterate the distinction.” A bold claim, but it looks like Square is backing up their talk with action.

Storeowners can now turn their Square app into an online store by showing their inventory on Square’s online storefront. Square is keeping things simple and placing only a picture, a button to buy, and a short description on the product page. But Square is also taking advantage of Twitter product cards (and similar options on Facebook and Pinterest). This will give consumers easy access on social media to buy a small business’ products, thus linking shopping and social media nearly seamlessly.

What this Means for Twitter

This synergy could launch a new wave of traffic for Twitter. Twitter Cards combined with an easy online store set up like Square Market appears to make things incredibly easy (and easily marketable) for businesses anywhere.

However, Mike Isaac reminds us on All Things D, “Right now, mind you, you can’t buy within a tweet.” Those links will still jump to an outside app or site to complete the purchase. It doesn’t take much to push the line of thought about that synergy Square has with Twitter Cards, and predict what’s next. Mike, and many others, believe it’s possible that buying products directly through Twitter could become a reality sooner rather than later. That would be huge for both Twitter and businesses and agencies using the service to market and brand their products.

Square Market Could Be Great for Small Businesses

Right now at least, it looks like Square Market is an easy way for small businesses to get online and start selling to customers around the country. It also makes it incredibly easy to get involved in social media to promote online sales, something that all businesses online should be doing. I’m looking forward to seeing how Square Market performs, and also for what the Twitter commerce initiatives team puts out next.

Would you want to see the ability to make sales directly on Twitter?

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Patrick currently lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, where he is studying for a Master's Degree in Intercultural Relations. Upon graduation from Penn State in 2008, he spent two years overseas in Kyrgyzstan with the U.S. Peace Corps. While writing is currently his chosen way to put food on the table, he loves fitness and exercise, which he believes makes up for his avid computer gaming habit.

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