On Social Commerce: Chirpify & Amex

The press has extensively covered American Express’s experiment in social commerce on Twitter. A lot of the articles draw a direct comparison to what we’ve been doing at Chirpify without further details. A few of them outright ignored that we’ve enabled in-stream social commerce for over a year now. And, a few went with hilarious wordplay for their headlines. Thought I’d take a moment to comment on some of the differentiation between our two services.

We’re glad to have Amex step in and validate the Social Commerce market and the opportunity that lies before us. There are many reasons brands, merchants, non-profits, musicians, record labels and consumers use, and will continue to use, Chirpify.

  1. We offer multiple payment types from every Credit Card to PayPal. In fact, people have been using Amex cards with Chirpify for the past year.
  2. We enable in-stream commerce and payments on all three major social media platforms (Facebook – Twitter – Instagram). Imminently on more.
  3. A merchant can list both digital and physical items for sale with our platform. When someone buys we do instant secure in-stream digital content delivery right back to the consumer. ie: When Green Day sells their music with us, or authors sell their e-books, their fans instantly get the content delivered right back via Direct Message, email or stored for them in their dashboard. When brands like Keen, Sorel and Puma sell physical goods we integrate shipping and fulfillment with their systems.
  4. We don’t just “do” commerce. We also enable in-stream p2p payments with thousands of people splitting lunch checks, as well as non-profits like United Way who raise funds in-stream with us.
  5. We have thousands of individual makers, musicians and sellers using us to sell their creations to their followers. We’re not just an enterprise platform.
  6. Most importantly, we have built an actual social commerce platform with robust commerce features that provide deep value to brands and merchants. The Chirpify platform has features to attach promotion codes to listings. We control inventory/quantity across multiple platforms allowing merchants to do time or quantity sensitive offers. If you sell out we’ll automatically remove all listings across both platforms. We enable in-stream giveaways for both digital and physical items. CDN and gated content deliver. Price control. Fulfillment systems integration. Integration into brands and merchants existing e-commerce platforms. And, we have built a robust API that several companies already use to extend their platforms in-stream on social media.

The Amex implementation is limited. Limited to Amex cardholders. Limited in simple promotional offers that don’t have any deep value to merchants. Limited in social platforms to Twitter, and limited from a user experience perspective. As many people have already noted online, it’s cumbersome and clutters streams with public hashtag tweeting. In short, it’s more promotional advertising than actual commerce.

I welcome folks, and the media, to dig a bit deeper beyond headlines and investigate differentiation and value proposition.

Good journalistic coverage over at Digital Trends.

It’s early days, folks. Thanks and Chirp on!

– Chris Teso, Founder and CEO