While the big business story last week was Twitter revealing it has filed for an initial public offering, the 140-character social network also recently showed it was ready to double-down on e-commerce with the hiring of Ticketmaster's former CEO as its first head of commerce.
"To me, Twitter is a cardiogram of the passion of the live moment," Nathan Hubbard said in his announcement tweet in late August.
Twitter plans to partner with retailers rather than sell physical goods itself and will also partner with mobile payments suppliers. In 2010, Twitter started introducing sponsored tweets and in-stream video advertising, touting its ability to customize messages based on each user's interests, as well as being able to provide real time data back to advertisers about where users are and even what they're doing.
Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, Mr. Hubbard said Twitter is aiming to "get people in the moment to buy and to act on their passions. That to me is the opportunity. I look at Twitter as one of the greatest discovery and distribution platforms in the world."
As an example, he told the Financial Times that stores promoting during a live sporting event or TV show might create a "powerful conversion moment for a commerce opportunity."
Some questioned the opportunity given Facebook's challenges with F-Commerce.
One critic was Forrester Research e-commerce analyst Sucharita Mulpuru who wrote in a column on Forbes.com that while the potential to tweet offers from nearby stores has been hyped, FourSquare found limited success in such efforts. She added, "It's just hard to see what can happen in the confines of 140 characters that could drives sales other than, well, a sale."
But others saw the opportunity for impulse purchases.
"It makes a lot of sense for Twitter, since a lot of online advertising is commerce related, and as a platform, they should be able to integrate more closely with online retailers," Colin Sebastian, an analyst at Robert W. Baird, told Bloomberg.
Chris Teso, CEO of Chirpify, a platform that facilitates automatic purchases on Twitter and other social networks using hashtags, told Mashable that unique and limited-quantity items do sell best on Twitter, though he also believes the platform can "absolutely work for more than just impulse items."
Adidas and Forever21 are among Chirpify's clients who have used Twitter to sell direct.
How effective will Twitter become as an e-commerce platform in the future?