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How Amazon Merchants and Affiliates Benefit from New Twitter Cart

When Amazon announced this week it was adding a feature for Twitter users to be able to place items in their shopping cart by replying to tweets with the hashtag #AmazonCart, we wondered if merchants and affiliates would benefit from the program.

Before addressing those issues, here’s some clarification for shoppers with Amazon Prime accounts. There is no indication in a tweet whether an item is Prime eligible – #AmazonCart is about product discovery, and upon visiting the Shopping Cart, a customer will be able to see if an item is Prime eligible before they make their final purchase decision.

Now on to affiliate marketers and merchants…

Amazon Affiliates Can Participate in #AmazonCart
Amazon affiliates can participate in the new #AmazonCart Twitter program that lets shoppers add items right to their Amazon shopping carts without leaving Twitter. Amazon sent a letter to members of its Associates program informing them of the new AmazonCart on Twitter

“AmazonCart makes it easy for your followers to shop directly from Twitter. Now when you tweet an Amazon.com product link with your Store ID, Twitter users, who have connected their accounts to Amazon, can add the item directly to their Carts by replying to your tweet with “#AmazonCart.” Any purchase that occurs as a result of a Cart add via #AmazonCart will be attributed to your Store ID and therefore eligible to earn advertising fees.”

Affiliates should keep in mind the FTC disclosure requirements about advertising on social media sites.

Owning the Buy Box Is Now Even More Important 
When you add an item to your Amazon cart using #AmazonCart on Twitter, which seller is benefitting? Would Amazon restrict it to their items only? The answer is no. If a third-party merchant “owns” the Buy Box when a shopper uses the #AmazonCart feature, that’s what will be put into the shopping cart – we confirmed this with Amazon.

Over on the PriceCanopy blog, founder and CEO Josh Brown did some tests and also found that adding an item to your Amazon Shopping Cart through Twitter always adds the item offered by the Buy Box merchant.

“The follow up email does not say who the seller is, nor does it acknowledge the fulfillment mechanism,” Brown wrote. “It’s obvious that Amazon could not easily have included “More Buying Choices” in their Twitter application, but it is interesting because buyers almost always get to view the seller’s name on Amazon’s website and pick from “More Buying Choices” where they exist. If this type of buying becomes more popular, it may increase the relative importance of holding the buy box.”

We asked Brown if he thought it made sense for sellers to try to promote their Amazon inventory on Twitter using AmazonCart.

“Truthfully, I doubt that we will see many 3P sellers promoting their listings using #AmazonCart,” he said. “Most of the merchants that I work with have their own ecommerce website where they can send off-Amazon buyers. This allows them to avoid the closing fees from a sale on Amazon.”

So while Amazon merchants may benefit from the new Amazon-Twitter hookup, they should be strategic about how they use it.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.