Miva Merchant Ecommerce News Briefs: 12-9-2011: Twitter, Online Shopping, Couch Commerce

Today, we’ll take a look at Twitter’s new look and Brand Pages feature, and what they mean for ecommerce store owners, social media, and Twitter users.  We’ll also examine two online shopping trends: couch commerce, and shopping exclusively online for gifts this holiday season.

Twitter Announces New Layout, Brand Profiles

Yesterday, Twitter officially announced the launch of Twitter brand pages, as well as a revamped version of the social media site, designed to improve the Twitter experience.

The brand pages, which are currently being used by several major companies, including McDonalds, Coca Cola, and American Express, will eventually be available to all Twitter users.

Features include a larger header for displaying a brand image, tagline, and logos, as well as the ability to control the message that visitors see on your Twitter profile page.

While most of us will have to wait a while to create a Twitter brand page, Twitter’s other big announcement yesterday, a revamped interface with new features, is available right now to all Twitter users.

The new version includes features that have caused some to speculate that one of Twitter’s primary goals for this new interface is to appeal to Facebook and Google+ users.  The site has been organized under four labels: Home, Connect, Discover, and Me.  Website owners can also embed individual tweets on their website pages, and Tweet buttons on websites will now include specific @mentions or hashtags.

New Holiday Shopping Trend: Couch Commerce?

We’ve all heard of ecommerce, mcommerce, fcommerce, and social commerce. Now with the rise of tablet-based online shopping comes another emerging trend: couch commerce.

What is couch commerce? Simply put, it is shopping online via a mobile phone or a tablet device, usually at home on the couch or anywhere else without using a desktop computer to complete the purchase.

As the graph below shows, online shopping via iPhones and iPads is a growing trend, and the purchases go beyond apps and downloaded movies and books to real-world, big-ticket items.

Free Shipping Leads To Increase In Number Of Online Shoppers

According the Orlando Sentinel, a growing number of consumers say that they plan to shop for holiday gifts exclusively online this year. Other than convenience, and the rise of mobile and tablet-based commerce, one reason for this trend may be the growing number of online retailers offering free shipping.

“Free shipping is one of the most important incentives that online retailers must provide during the holiday season to ensure that shoppers convert into buyers. . . consumers have come to expect free shipping,” Gian Fulgoni, chairman of comScore told the Sentinel.

On December 16th many ecommerce retailers will participate in Free Shipping Day, offering shoppers the opportunity to skip shipping fees, and know that their packages will arrive by a guaranteed, before-Christmas arrival date.  Free Shipping Day, which began in 2007, has attracted national media attention, and generated an estimated $300 million in sales last year.