Twitter confirmed it's discontinuing the Buy button on Wednesday, months after the development team working on it moved on to other projects. The San Francisco-based social media giant originally introduced the Buy button back in 2014 when many social networks were experimenting with integrating e-commerce functionalities into their platforms. The discontinuation of this feature will be conducted in a gradual manner as the company revealed it just started phasing out the functionality and its related support pages. While online retailers will lose the ability to sell their products directly through Twitter, nonprofits and charities will still be able to accept donations from the Donate button which Twitter isn't planning to discontinue.
The closure of Twitter's sales channel has been rumored for several months, ever since the company announced significant layoffs and cost-cutting efforts following its Q3 2016 financial report. Twitter is currently focused on improving the profitability of its operations and streamlining its revenue stream which is currently highly diversified but inconsistent. Stripe, Shopify, Musictoday, Gumroad, and Fancy were among Twitter's largest e-commerce partners that used the Buy button, but that endeavor didn't prove to be as profitable as expected. Despite being available for two and a half years, most customers didn't get used to the concept of buying goods and services through Twitter. However, not all social media firms believe this idea is without potential as Facebook is still pushing e-commerce integration into social networks within its Messenger ecosystem.
The discontinuation of the Buy button marks the latest change Twitter went through in the last few years as the microblogging platform is still experimenting with a broad range of features aimed at various audiences. Industry watchers often described Twitter's recent moves as an identity crisis seeing how the San Francisco-based company seemingly isn't sure whom to cater to. The firm's recent decision to shut down Vine was another attempt to reduce operating costs by discontinuing a service that isn't generating significant profits, just like the Buy button. In overall, it's hard to predict where Twitter will go from here, but it's reasonable to presume the company's future plans won't have much to do with e-commerce as Twitter is now seemingly looking to focus on its core services.