Thanks to recent developments in the social media arena, shopping will never be the same. Indeed, social networking has completely changed the way that consumers access their favorite products. So, whether we’re talking about Facebook’s Marketplace, Pinterest’s artificial intelligence-enabled shopping, or Instagram’s latest foray into in-app purchases, it’s difficult to imagine a consumer who hasn’t been impacted by social shopping.

In addition to technology and media providers doing their part to advance social shopping consumers are upholding their end of the bargain, as well. Namely, shoppers continue to improve in the way of tech savvy and this newfound knowledge often overlaps into the shopping arena. As such, social media is rapidly transforming into one of the world’s most powerful tools as it relates to online sales.

For example, at $179.36 per order, Pinterest boasts the highest average order value of any social media platform. Coming in at second is Facebook who averages $80.22 per transaction, followed by Twitter whose average order as of 2015 was $68.78. Likewise, when it comes to brand interaction, Facebook and Pinterest lead the pack among social media platforms with 56 percent of their users engaging with brands through their respective platforms followed by 47 percent of all Twitter users.

What this tells us is that while Twitter is certainly a force to be reckoned with in the social media sphere, the company is – at best – a number two or three contender. However, all is not lost for them as there’s still an area that no one currently dominates and Twitter just so happens to already have a strong foundation in this field, in-stream shopping.

Live Streaming Broadcast TV

With so many people drawn to live streaming in recent years, even online retail giant, Amazon, has decided to cash in on the trend by adding live video stream broadcasts to their lineup. Although programming and rights are still in the works, the company is poised to make big moves in the world of streaming but let’s not forget that this isn’t just a neat techie ploy but it means, even more, value for their customers. As such, investors can expect even better retention among Prime subscribers.

Another interesting facet of these moves is that it levels the playing field such that social networks now have access to mainstream TV programming and viewership. It’s no doubt a game changer, and should certainly shake up the media industry.

However, there is one challenge that Amazon faces. Consumers don’t readily make the connection between Amazon and live event footage. However, there is one platform that is synonymous with live events–Twitter.

Enter Twitter’s Live Video

Twitter has now come a long way since the company’s launch in 2006. Furthermore, they’ve managed to introduce many outstanding features to their user base, while still retaining their unique ‘cool kids’ flavor. However, lately, Twitter has fallen behind when it comes to moving the needle in a meaningful sense. The bottom line is that although this edgy social media platform is highly capable of helping brands generate awareness, it’s competitors are far ahead as it relates to online shopping.

But here’s where it gets interesting. Twitter is the home of live blogging, which means that scores of individuals already flock to the platform for live event updates. Additionally, their acquisition of live streaming platform, Periscope, further reinforces their live events supremacy. In fact, thanks to its timeliness and ease of use the platform have breathed new life into professional sports and music events.

Why Twitter Should Allow Onsite and In-App Purchases

An embedded tweet is one of the best ways to spread information about music or sporting events. But Twitter’s users want more. As such, they tend to take it a step further by sending their followers to ‘buy links.’ This has proven extremely helpful as a method of building awareness. But apart from these benefits, the fact that the platform underwhelms. Especially considering that if users want to purchase the broadcaster’s products, they must do so off-site.

And remember, you can now use Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram to make purchases. However, if you want to buy something that you see on Twitter you must navigate away from the platform, log in to an external website, and then go back to Twitter. It is a huge drawback and could easily cause Twitter to fall further behind if they don’t find a way to rectify the issue.

Live Broadcasts on Twitter

Nonetheless, when I look at Twitter’s video streaming capabilities, I see vast potential. This opportunity would not only help them establish serious dominance on the innovation front but could also solidify its position as a top-selling platform, among its peers. Furthermore, the fact that the company has user generated live stream video and media driven videos means that they have the scale to do a lot more.

For example, ask yourself why set-top boxes are still the most convenient platform for watching your favorite Thursday night NFL football game? Why is it that we haven’t replaced this outdated entertainment channel with Twitter? This must be the very same question that Twitter’s executive team was asking themselves, judging by their recent actions, namely that of their recently signed NFL streaming deal.

The agreement allows Twitter to finally merge their live streaming technical capabilities with a highly practical application, live programming. But is it enough to provide the edge that they need to compete against the likes of Facebook, Amazon, Instagram, etc.? The honest answer is that it probably won’t. However, I can tell you what would, shopping-enabled tweets or in-stream shopping.

Imagine if instead of having to follow a link – away from Twitter – to an official merchandise gear website to make a purchase that you could make your purchase without leaving the site. Or what if a sports team could send shopping options to viewers in-stream?

It would allow the company’s users to have purchasing engagement without leaving the platform, and it would help advertisers while opening another lane for Twitter.

With rumors of profit losses, layoffs, botched attempts to find a suitor in the air, let’s hope Twitter figures things out before it’s too late.