X.com, Elon Musk, Super-Apps, and the future of eCommerce

The Future of X.com and eCommerce

Thursday August 31, 2023 | Posted at 6:39 pm | By Harriet Pritchard
August 31, 2023 @ 6:39 pm

The $43 billion acquisition of Twitter by Elon Musk in 2022 was a controversial takeover to say the least. The purchase warranted a designated Wikipedia page, shed some light on how billionaires like to spend their money, and sparked some pretty interesting conversations about the future of eCommerce.

In July 2023 Twitter announced a radical rebrand to simply – ‘X’ – a change reminiscent to the seven-year period in which we referred to Prince as ‘the artist formally known as Prince’ – or simply, ‘symbol’.

Twitter was a widely recognisable name, brand, and social media platform – so why make this change so abruptly after acquiring the company? Musk’s tweet (or do we call it a post? A share? An X?) in reference to the rebrand gave insight into his plans for the future of X: “In the months to come, we will add comprehensive communications and the ability to conduct your entire financial world. The Twitter name does not make sense in that context, so we must bid adieu to the bird.”

In essence, Musk is looking to build an ‘everything app’. The best example of an ‘everything app’ is China’s WeChat. WeChat is a multi-use app that allows users to perform multiple actions, such as; message, make payments, access the news, and shop eCommerce – from one all-encompassing app.

If Musk’s ambitions go to plan, X will become the biggest eCommerce platform in the world.

The likelihood of this becoming a reality remains to be seen. Many doubt a western super-app could ever be comparable to the likes of WeChat, particularly considering the consumer market in the West is so different than that of the East. However, with around 80% of the entire population of China (1.32 billion people) active on WeChat, it’s clear that ‘everything apps’ can and do operate successfully elsewhere. It seems unwise to rule out the possibility of X becoming a dominant eCommerce app in the future.

Love him or hate him, Elon Musk – the man leading the electric car movement, aspiring to put humans on Mars in the next decade, and creating an AI chip to be implanted in the brain – shouldn’t be underestimated.

What does X.com mean for SME eCommerce brands?

Prior to Musk’s takeover, Twitter had dipped a toe into eCommerce – however the features were, and remain, relatively limited. Elon’s plans for growth require extensive regulatory checks and licensing before they come into fruition.

This doesn’t mean eCommerce brands should ignore the potential future X.com could provide. As single store apps become prevalent for large-scale brands such as ASOS or Ikea, SMEs are unable to legitimately compete for this kind of shopping experience. A ‘super-app’ might be considered a marketing dream for small-medium brands as it potentially closes the gap between the industry dominant brands and up-and-coming brands.

What should eCommerce brands do now?

Whilst the future of X.com remains uncertain, the best advice would be to keep a close eye on how this ‘everything app’ progresses. Brands prepared to adapt and be creative will be the most likely to benefit from new opportunities the app presents.

As the owner of an eCommerce brand, staying aware of any changes in the market is paramount for paving a successful future.

To find out how Volo can help you scale for a successful ecommerce future, get in touch.

Explore more News and Views