Twitter Gets Into E-Commerce

Last year, we wrote that Twitter was considering e-commerce as one of its revenue models. On Tuesday it unveiled its first foray into selling products.

The company announced @earlybird Exclusive Offers, which will be time-sensitive deals on products and events that will appear on the @earlybird Twitter account. People can follow that account to get access to the deals.

The idea borrows from private and limited-time sale sites, like Gilt, Groupon and Woot (which recently acquired), a recent trend in online shopping. It also takes advantage of what companies like Dell, which attributes millions of dollars in sales to posting deals on Twitter, are already doing.

The deals could be on products, like iPods or diapers, or on events, like concert tickets or travel. In a post on a company blog, Twitter hinted that it could filter deals by category, like apparel or gadgets, in the future. Twitter stressed that it would be selective about which deals were offered and “try and make these deals interesting and of value to you.”

The retailers will determine the price of the items and how many are available. Twitter will earn money from the sales. It is experimenting with different models, like a cut of each sale or a fixed price per deal, said Sean Garrett, a Twitter spokesman. The retailers will collect shoppers’ credit card numbers and otherwise fulfill the transaction.

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