Twitter and Amazon Go on a Shoplifting Spree

Shopping is now a hashtag away -- and it's not as corny as you may think.

Rick Munarriz
Rick Munarriz
May 5, 2014 at 3:30PM
Consumer Goods

Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) may be the impulse shopper of social-media websites with its bite-size approach to broadcast bursts, but that's apparently just fine for (NASDAQ:AMZN). The two dot-com icons are teaming up to making shopping easier on the world's most popular shopping site.

Twitter users who associate their accounts with Amazon's e-commerce platform can now add products mentioned on the micro-blogging site by simply replying with the #AmazonCart hashtag to add it to their own Amazon account's shopping cart. 

Your initial reaction may be to shake your head. Why would someone trust a Tweet with an Amazon product link as a full testimonial in 140 characters or less? Why wouldn't the person just click on the link that would open on Amazon's website to read up on the product or check out lengthier reviews? Won't this make Twitter even noisier with folks just throwing Amazon Associates-linked products out there to generate commissions? Does everyone need to know I'm going to buy a brown Zune or a Welcome Back, Kotter lunchbox? This could get ugly.

Thankfully, this isn't as obnoxious or as pointless as it may sound at first glance. Outside of promoted tweets, you'll only be getting pitches for people you're following on Twitter. You have to appreciate their perspectives, at least as the launching pad to consider a potential purchase. There's also something to be said about acting at the moment that an interesting product comes up. How many times have you forgotten about something that you wanted or needed to pick up.

Now, what was it that I wanted to buy?

Is it quicker to just click on a product link and add it directly into your Amazon cart? Sure. That's probably true for people logged into Amazon at the time. But there's still a gee-whiz moment of wonder when you can actually set something into an online cart to buy later just by entering a hashtag. 

Twitter can certainly use the boost. The stock took a hit last week after posting uninspiring user growth. Twitter saw its average monthly active user count increase by 14 million sequentially to 255 million during this year's first quarter. Stateside growth has slowed, and offering itself up as a more convenient taste maker when it comes to online shopping can only be incremental. 

Keep an eye on Twitter in the coming weeks to see if the #AmazonCart move becomes a distraction or an eyesore. On the surface it seems hokey, yet at a deeper level this could be big for both companies if it pans out. Amazon will benefit because Twitter broadcasters may seek out Amazon product links the next time they mention or endorse a product. Twitter will benefit if marketers ramp up their ad budgets to get their Amazon links noticed. As long as the users don't get fed up, it's a win-win deal.