We’ve all seen people with their eyes glued to their phones, possibly on Twitter, while they are out shopping. Now, you can shop while you are tweeting (or, at least while you are looking at Twitter). Relay makes it easier for shoppers to buy products advertised on Twitter. It also makes it easier for people to sell products via Twitter.
Relay is an API for stores to publish their products and for apps to read them. It was launched by Stripe. The goal is to make people’s online shopping experience as simple as possible. Relay was designed to solve a problem that mobile users face when trying to shop online. Stripe describes the problem this way:
Today, mobile e-commerce websites aren’t working: Ten-step shopping carts, mandatory account signup , slow page loads. When we get linked to a shopping cart on our phone, we usually just give up. That shouldn’t be surprising – most mobile shopping sites are fundamentally the same as the desktop sites that preceded them, despite the medium calling for something completely different.
The result has been predictable. Despite mobile devices representing 60% of browsing traffic for shopping sites, they only make up 15% of purchases.
You can try the Relay system out on Twitter. The next Promoted Tweet you see could have a “Buy” button. Click that button, and it will automatically take you to a page where you can purchase the product. The process of shopping on Twitter just got a lot more streamlined!
Stores can use Relay to enable instant purchases in third-party mobile apps (such as Twitter). It is also possible for an independent person to submit their products to be shown in apps like ShopStyle and Spring. Ideally, this can help small businesses, artists, or musicians, to avoid losing sales because people found it to frustrating to go from Twitter to the seller’s main website.