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Amazon Adds Shopping Feature to Twitter

People catching up on the latest news on Twitter will be able to add products that show up in their feed to their Amazon shopping cart – without leaving Twitter. While many people reacting to the news agreed it was an innovative feature, and some Twitter users began adding items to their cart to test it out, there was also some skepticism about how useful this would prove to shoppers.

Amazon introduced the new feature, called #AmazonCart, on Monday. Once shoppers link their Amazon and Twitter accounts together, they can add Amazon products they discover on Twitter to their Amazon.com shopping carts simply by hitting reply and using the #AmazonCart hashtag. (Amazon customers in the UK can use the hashtag #AmazonBasket.)

Just as its “Add it now. Buy it later” tagline implies, people who use #AmazonCart on Twitter are simply adding items to their shopping cart on Amazon – at some point they must visit Amazon and check out to actually order the items.

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An Amazon spokesperson explained, “Customers who have already connected their Twitter and Amazon.com accounts will be notified with a reply Tweet from @MyAmazon as well as an email from Amazon when the item is successfully added to their Cart. Customers who have not connected their Twitter and Amazon.com accounts will receive a reply Tweet asking them to connect their accounts to enable the new feature.”

Amazon benefits from the new feature on Twitter not only by encouraging impulse shopping, it also provides the company with data about what items are popular, similar to its Wish List feature. In addition, when shoppers link their Amazon account to their Twitter account, they’re agreeing to provide Amazon with certain data, giving Amazon permission to do the following:

  • Read Tweets from your timeline.
  • See who you follow, and follow new people.
  • Update your profile.
  • Post Tweets for you.

The Financial Times reports, “Although Twitter will not make any money from Amazon sales directly, the group hopes that it will encourage ecommerce sites and other companies to spend more money on advertising through the site.”

Twitter provides advertisers a “promoted tweets” offering that lets them pay to display their tweets to users. The company says brands benefit by having a presence on its platform, and recently published a study that showed 54% of users surveyed reported they had taken action after seeing brand mentions in Tweets. With the new attention to ecommerce, can we expect Twitter feeds to contain ever more advertising mixed in with tweets from the news outlets, sports teams, brands and friends we follow? If the Financial Times is correct, that seems likely.

We’re waiting to hear back from Amazon whether third-party merchants can use the feature to encourage shoppers to post their Amazon listings to Twitter, and also whether Amazon Associates can use the feature to earn affiliate revenue.

You can learn more about #AmazonCart from the shopper point of view at amazon.com/AmazonCart.

Update 5/6/14: Amazon sent an email to associates overnight letting them know they can participate in the AmazonCart program.

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Ina Steiner

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. Send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.


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