The social media giant is set to introduce 'Twitter coupons'. The idea is to transform the Twitter platform into an opportunity to offer discounts to customers, in the process increasing Twitter's advertising revenue while boosting engagement for retailers. Companies pay Twitter to promote their coupon tweets, and then those Twitter users who interact with the coupon will receive the discount when they shop at a respective store.
Nathan Hubbard, Twitter's head of commerce, said in an interview with Recode:
"We see Twitter users sending millions of expressions of demand a day...where appropriate, [Twitter want to] turn those conversations into transactions."
To make this work, Twitter users have to link a credit or debit card to their Twitter account and use that card for the in-store or online transaction with the retailer whose coupon tweet they activated. Sucharita Mulpuru, a primary analyst at Forrester Research told Wired that customers who take advantage of Twitter coupons won't see an immediate discount on their purchases but will later see their money credited back to them. She questioned: "What kind of an experience is that from a customer's standpoint?"
That does seem odd and I presume that there is some verification process to confirm that the discount is due. I have to admit the whole process is still a bit unclear to me; for a start, what do Twitter users have to do to qualify for the discount? Do users have to reply, re-tweet or favourite the tweet to benefit? If so, this takes me back to the problem I had with the potential of a buy button on Twitter. I don't really want to promote and share my shopping activity on that platform. And I certainly don't want my Twitter timeline full of updates on what my friends and various random celebrities are buying.
I don't care if Stephen Fry just bought a new "Melchett Moustache Comb" for Movember and I'm not remotely interested in my mate Barry's meal-deal at Sainsbury's. My Twitter feed is filled with enough rubbish as it stands - thanks but no thanks to throwing in everyone's shopping updates in there as well; let alone what seems a slightly restrictive and problematic method of claiming discounts.
By Matthew Taylor 28th November 2014
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