Both companies made announcements on Wednesday, with Facebook revealing it is experimenting with a new click-to-purchase function, and Twitter reporting it had acquired CardSpring – an up-and-coming payments infrastructure company.
Facebook’s click-to-purchase function will allow users to complete an entire purchase from within the platform, negating the need to visit a merchant’s site. Once at the checkout, consumers can either access credit information stored within their account, much like PayPal, or choose to enter them manually at each purchase.
In the other camp, Twitter’s integration with CardSpring is likely to lead to experimentation with card-linked offers. Examples of this could include providing consumers with discounts and privileges (either online or offline) based on the card numbers they provide when replying to tweeted offers from merchants.
Whether or not social commerce takes off remains to be seen (this is not the first time the social giants have dabbled with payment functionality), it’ll be interesting to see whether the recent announcements spark the start of a convergence between social networks and retail commerce.