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UPDATE: Twitter has shut down Ribbon’s new payment processing feature. We’ve reached out to Twitter for comment and will update when we hear back.

Twitter’s CEO has expressed an interest in embracing ecommerce in the past, but it looks like one startup may have just beat it to the punch.

Ribbon, a San Francisco payments company, announced a new feature Wednesday that lets merchants offer an in-stream payment option on Twitter. Now, for the first time, consumers can find a product or service for sale through Twitter and complete the purchase without ever having to leave the news feed.

With Ribbon, sellers can create a customized link for free to list their product on Twitter and embed a checkout page within the tweet. Beneath the text and link in the tweet, customers will see a picture and description of the product and can then proceed to click through and enter their personal information and credit card details to make a purchase.

“Buyers don’t ever have to leave their Twitter feeds. They can purchase and interact within Twitter,” said Jisi Guo, product lead at Ribbon. “This is definitely a first.”


Ribbon previously introduced a similar in-stream payment option on Facebook, which it says led to “much higher” conversion rates, but it struggled to create this feature on Twitter. Instead, merchants could only use Ribbon to embed a product description in the tweet and then link out to a one-page checkout hosted on Ribbon’s website. Ribbon’s team eventually realized how to use the Twitter card API to embed the payment information directly in the tweet.

“On Twitter, the experience was not up to our level because we could not do true in-stream,” Hany Rashwan, Ribbon’s co-founder and CEO, told Mashable. “In many ways we see this now as us coming to Twitter in the way we originally wanted.”

Other startups in the space like Chirpify offer a Twitter payment option similar to what Ribbon originally had. Even Twitter itself seems not to have cracked in-stream payment processing yet. The closest Twitter has come is a partnership with American Express last month, which let users buy products through the social network by tweeting with the right hashtag.

In addition to the updated Twitter payment option, Ribbon also announced a partnership with YouTube that lets merchants insert Ribbon links on top of videos, which directs viewers to a one-page checkout on Ribbon’s website to complete the purchase.

Ribbon has also reduced its transaction fee from 5% to 2.9% (plus a $0.30 charge) in an effort to compete more directly against other online payment processors like PayPal.

The startup closed a $1.6 million seed round led by Draper Associates earlier this year after having previously raised $120,000.

Images via Twitter and iStockphoto, arekmalang