Twitter and Amazon announced a partnership that will allow users to add products to their Amazon basket with a simple tweet. This seems to be another example of Twitter looking to find and build out new revenue streams, presumably to stave off detractors on Wall Street who have punished the company recently by driving their shares down almost 50 per cent since their high of 70 per cent. Whether this is enough to attract new Twitter users remains to be seen.
Twitter is looking to increase user numbers and engagement, as well as opening up new revenue streams; Amazon meanwhile simply wants to give buyers every opportunity to spend money. The current iteration of the service doesn’t seem like one that will see widespread adoption, but could be a sign of tweets to come.
An interesting combination for advertisers?
Since hashtags were created by Twitter users back in its early days, they have been used for any number of things, and this move to solidify its position in the purchase cycle is simply an extension of existing trends. Early in 2013 American Express launched a service to allow its card holders to take advantage of special offers and buy products with a tweet.
#AmazonCart works on a similar system, whereby shoppers simply sync their Amazon & Twitter accounts; they can then reply to tweets which include an Amazon URL with the hashtag and the item is added to their basket. The user still needs to complete the purchase by logging on to Amazon afterwards.
Allowing brands to turn their Twitter streams into shop fronts is undoubtedly one that will interest many advertisers but, as one analyst put it, this could well be ‘a solution in search of a problem’. In order for this to take off, it will need to tap into existing consumer behaviour or be such a boon that it convinces shoppers to adopt new ones. The history of fCommerce (storefronts on Facebook) would suggest that it may struggle to do either; whilst a number of brands launched commerce platforms on their Facebook profiles, many have since been shuttered.
What about Twitter and Amazon?
Twitter is trying to create new use cases for people to come and spend time on the platform, as well as creating new ways of unlocking advertiser budgets. However it is debatable whether Twitter’s problem is really that people don’t have enough ways to use it or whether the problem is that it is simply a product that already meets its users’ needs, which unfortunately don’t match the ambitions of Twitter’s financial backers. This new feature may bring new legions of users on to the platform, but it is equally possible that if brands start incessantly tweeting buy now links that existing users may look elsewhere for their real time social needs.
For Amazon however, the benefits are obvious: even if relatively few people use the service, those that do will have provided Amazon access to their social graph, with all the associated rich seams of data that suggests. The hope is that this is simply an early iteration of brands finding new ways to make the most of Twitter’s platform.
O2’s clever use of Twitter as a customer service platform is a great example of this and hopefully #AmazonCart will evolve into something similar.