Amazon Extends Its Shopping Cart To Twitter

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Amazon has just introduced a new feature that lets Twitter users add items to their Amazon carts by including a hashtag within a tweet.

After the user connects their Twitter account to Amazon, they can extend their Amazon shopping experience by tweeting a reply to Amazon product links they see on Twitter including the hashtag #AmazonCart — or #AmazonBasket in the UK — to add the product to their shopping basket.

“Add it now, buy it later” is the slogan Amazon is using on a promo video explaining the new feature.

The feature not only extends the retail reach of Amazon beyond its own website, reducing purchase friction, but co-opts Twitter users into product marketing activity — since they are publishing tweets indicating which items they are buying from Amazon.

It also extends the notification noise a user will get from Amazon if they decide to make use of the shortcut for adding stuff they see on Twitter to their basket — with Amazon noting that it will email users when an item has been successfully added to their shopping cart via Twitter.

Amazon is not the first company to aim to turn Twitter into a retail pipeline. Startup Chirpify raised a $6 million Series A funding round back in July last year for a social shopping service that allows social media users to include trigger words (so called ‘actiontags’) in their updates to perform actions, such as buying the item or being sent a link to it. Amazon of course brings massive scale to the concept, giving it a greater chance for traction.

Seeking ways to reduce purchase friction is a long-term mission for Amazon — which holds the patent on 1-click buying. That’s from the days of web 1.0, though. Social networks morphing into social commerce outlets in their own right (thinking of the potential of a site such as Pinterest, for instance, or Instagram) is a threat to Amazon as a central e-commerce hub.

So Amazon extending its reach into social hubs where web users are congregating and discussing products is an obvious strategy to defend itself against the rise of alternative social retail hubs. If the AmazonCart feature takes off, it effectively Twitter into a windowshopping platform for Amazon.

“Twitter offers a great environment for our customers to discover product recommendations from artists, experts, brands and friends. #AmazonCart was designed to help customers add products to their cart now without leaving Twitter and come back later to shop and buy on Amazon,” said an Amazon spokesperson in an email to TechCrunch.

The feature also potentially gives more pull to product makers to sell their stuff on Amazon, rather that opt for another retail option. Amazon declined to confirm how many companies it has signed up to tweet out product links that are identifiable as being sold on Amazon — a prerequisite for the #AmazonCart feature to function.