While the tweet-to-pay business model isn't entirely new it's been around for a few years the concept received a shot in the arm earlier this year when credit card giant American Express announced a new Twitter e-commerce program for cardholders.
"We loved that they did it," said Chris Teso, founder and chief executive of Chirpify which launched in 2012 and allows consumers to purchase certain brands via Twitter using PayPal or their credit card. "It's a big player. It validates what we're doing and raises awareness."
Teso and others see social media as the logical next step for e-commerce allowing users to complete transactions by simply sending out a tweet, typically with a command like "buy" and the payee's handle name.
"This is a frictionless transaction that just needs a simple tweet," said Brad Lindenberg, co-founder of Australia-based BuyReply. "Obviously we see a lot of potential in it."BuyReply allows users to tweet or text products seen in ads on television and in magazines along with that company's handle in order to make direct purchases. Lindenberg said the service also allows retweets of purchases in essence allowing the purchasing of a product to go viral.
While similar, Teso said he sees his company as more of a "seamless" transaction agent, where Twitter users can buy products as they tweet with friends. Users also can use Chirpify on Facebook and Instagram.
As with buying on websites a decade ago, both companies said they understand such a process will bring security concerns, and stress transactions are completely secure as users' credit card and address information are kept with the company, not with social media networks.