You read that right…Do all of your smartphone shopping by logging into Twitter, linking to your Amazon account and literally start “tweeting” products into your shopping cart! “Add it now – buy it later!”
In May 2014, Amazon.com announced a strategic partnership with Twitter in what seems to be their everlasting quest to make buying the easiest activity in your hectic day: #AmazonCart.
As Amazon describes it in their YouTube advertising video: “Once your account is enabled, you can add millions of Amazon products to your cart without leaving your Twitter feed. No more switching apps, typing out passwords or trying to remember items you saw on Twitter. Save it to your cart now and check it out later when it’s more convenient for you.” (Read Article)
Amazon wants to create a work-around for the average, unreliable short-term memory of most mobile consumers doing their smartphone shopping. They would like you to see a product and before you can forget you want it, put it in your cart to buy now – or later. Once the item is in your cart you’ll receive a confirmation tweet from @MyAmazon letting you know that the item was successfully added to your cart, and whether or not it is in stock for immediate shipment. All you have to do is log in to review your cart at Amazon.com and click “BUY.” Done, and done!
As new user numbers dwindle, Twitter is finding itself in a more and more desperate situation. Furthermore, disappointing first-quarter financial reports last month indicating a $130 Million loss for the company have hurt their stock price. With this partnership Twitter is no doubt hoping that Amazon can boost the brand and make the service relevant once again in the social media world. (More Information)
Critics of #AmazonCart wonder if there was really a problem that was solved with the new #AmazonCart service. Were Twitter users going through their feed so fast that Amazon was truly losing a statistically significant group of buyers? Perhaps, but there would have to be a huge rise in tweet-related sales for a company as large as Amazon.com to feel the boost. To put it in perspective, their e-business did over $15 Billion in sales just in the last quarter alone, and they’ll probably see a noticeable increase in free online marketing before they ever see specific product sales jump (See Details Here).
Principle social media analyst for research firm eMarketer, Debra Aho Williamson believes that while the number of consumers who will take advantage of adding items to their cart that they see in Amazon-related tweets “will be pretty slim, Twitter is all about real-time marketing, and with this service Twitter will start to play a bigger role in real-time commerce as well.” (Read More)
Although early adopters seemed to be poking fun at the service as they tagged hilarious products left and right, there is a secondary, underlying benefit for Amazon.com. While Twitter hopes to increase their relevance and competition with companies like Pinterest and Instagram – who offer an immediate and obvious consumer connection to discovering new products – Amazon hopes to take advantage of a bit of free advertising. #AmazonCart will ideally not only make it easier for you to conduct smartphone shopping, but it will also mean that Amazon (hopefully) gets you to re-tweet what you saw on your Twitter feed to all of your friends, and let them know that you have made a purchase or plan to buy. What’s more powerful in the advertising world than a personal referral on a product from a friend? #AmazonCart is the new word-of-mouth marketing – and you don’t even need to say a word!
“We believe Twitter offers a great environment for consumers to discover product recommendations from artists, experts, brands and friends,” says Julie Law, a spokeswoman for Amazon. “It allows customers to help other customers make better decisions.”
The real crux of this partnership’s success will be whether or not consumers using the service will be willing to share with the world their personal buying habits. This might sound like a sure thing for products like bicycles, camping gear, and home cleaning products, for instance. But customers might be less willing to share more personal items with their Twitter follower, and much less the whole world. Amazon seems to understand the gamble quite well, noting on their website, “most content is public on Twitter,” and any replies with #AmazonCart “will be visible to whomever you replied, to those viewing the [Twitter] conversation, and on your own Timeline (unless your Twitter account is set to private).”
Unfortunately, Twitter won’t be seeing a cut of any of these tweet-related sales, and will have to settle for the intangible bonus of more users. Twitter CEO, Dick Costolo said that they are trying to extend their reach by capitalizing on consumer demand for what he calls, “now commerce.”
“This notion of seeing something that someone talks about and then just saying ‘I want that – I want to put that in my Amazon cart’ – you can do this now with in-the-moment commerce,” Costolo continued.
It should come as no surprise that Amazon.com is once again venturing out into uncharted territory. This isn’t the first risky bet for this trend setter. The Seattle startup that began as an online book store has morphed into the world’s largest online retailer, and continues to expand their business platform into consumer electronics, food, clothing, sporting goods, and virtually everything else under the sun (See Information).
Critics have already compared #AmazonCart to the failed Facebook venture, Beacon, in 2007. Readers may remember this blip in the social media giant’s history when they were forced to shut down Beacon in early 2009 as part of a class-action lawsuit settlement for privacy concerns. Amazon is quick to point out that the main difference is that Facebook “revealed peoples purchases without their explicit consent,” when they launched Beacon in 2007. Amazon’s partnership requires initial “opt-in” consent from Twitter users, and allows them to change privacy settings with their Twitter account to restrict the way purchasing information is shared through #AmazonCart.
When asked how this privacy and sharing control might inhibit the success of #AmazonCart, spokeswoman Law said, “[customers] who do not want their product decision to be public can still use Twitter to discover product recommendations.” So whether the greater benefit will be from direct purchases or from product advertisement and recommendation, only time will tell.
In recent months Amazon has been quite busy. They’ve launched their own set-top video streaming device (AmazonFire TV) – to compete with Apple (AppleTV) and Google (Chromecast) – as well as their own production company which has green-lit 6 new original TV shows. They have been beta testing grocery delivery service on the West Coast, and even taken the first steps toward their dream of unmanned-drone home delivery.
At this rate, perhaps someday you’ll be watching an Amazon Original Series on your AmazonFire TV, see a product you like at the commercial break, tweet about it and stash it in your AmazonCart, all while anxiously waiting for a drone to drop it on your front doorstep. Hoarders, beware!
On the horizon for CEO and founder, Jeff Bezos, Amazon seems poised to release their own platform for smartphone shopping, and although mums the word, insiders have leaked Amazon’s intentions to revolutionize the Wholesale Supply business with AmazonSupply. We look forward to hearing more about this, and its benefits for businesses large and small.