#AmazonBasket – Social Shopping Gets Serious

Amazon announced yesterday that you can now add items to your shopping basket via Twitter by replying to a tweet featuring a link to an Amazon product with the hashtag #AmazonBasket (or #AmazonCart in the US).  This is yet another innovative masterstroke from the leviathans of online shopping and takes it to a completely new and unforeseen level.

How does it work you might ask?  First off, you need to have both Amazon and Twitter accounts.  Then go to Amazon Basket’s page and then you will be asked to “Get Started”.  This will take you to a Twitter link which will ask to authorise use of your Twitter profile.  Then you will be taken back to Amazon and you should be all set!  From there on, if you reply to any Tweet featuring a link to an Amazon product with the hashtag #AmazonBasket then the item will instantly appear in your shopping basket on Amazon.  You should get a tweet from @MyAmazonUK confirming it as well as an e-mail.  Then, if you want to buy the item, you’ll need to pop over to Amazon’s site and confirm the order as you would normally.  Once you get the service up and running it’s dead simple.  Here’s an Amazon video to let you know a little more about the service:

Amazon are no strangers to breaking new ground in the field of online shopping.  They were so proud of their one-click ordering service that they tried, unsuccessfully, to patent it.  Last year they announced Amazon Prime Air, a technology they are working on to allow drones to deliver packages to your door to save on the traditional reliance on postal or courier services.  Time and again they have come up with completely new ways of taking the hassle out of getting the things you want.  #AmazonBasket is just the latest in a string of fantastic ideas.

We’re all aware that shopping sites allow you to share your purchases online via social networks.  Most of us will just glaze over when asked to, and if we do it’s generally a case of showing off a vanity purchase or festival ticket or something similar.  The only benefit for the shopping site is increased exposure to their products, and also a little recommendation from a user which is always helpful for brand reputation.  Being able to add things to your basket by simply replying to a tweet is a powerful new way of getting more sales from these sorts of posts.  Of course there’ll be a novelty value for a while as people get to grips with the idea that they can shop from Twitter, but it’ll also end up in increased sales for Amazon as people become more casual about adding things to their basket and end up buying more than they normally would.  Those who are so inclined can also monitor the hashtag through Twitter’s search to see what items people are buying in real-time.  It’s an ingenious way of stepping up their marketing and user experience in one fell swoop.

It’s not been announced as of yet if Twitter are benefitting financially at all from this service that Amazon provides.  By providing an outlet to allow potentially millions of customers shop on Amazon, Twitter would surely be entitled to a small cut of the vast profits this scheme could generate for Amazon.  We’re well aware of Twitter’s struggles to monetise its’ service, and this could well be a money-spinner for them if they can strike a deal, if not the silver bullet for their business troubles.

It’ll be interesting to see if any other websites take on Amazon’s social approach to shopping and just how far this new technology could go.  We know that supermarkets have really active Twitter accounts when it comes to customer services, with the likes of Tesco and Asda providing friendly points-of-call for customers partly as a way of dealing with complaints but also to generate some positive marketing as well.  Could we soon see a day where you could tweet a shopping list to Tesco and get your groceries delivered to your door?  This would be a massive step forward in terms of ease of use and is perhaps the most refined way of shopping in history.  The potential is extraordinary.

The internet is taking over, albeit slowly, the way in which we shop.  Even though we’re still years away from the death of the brick-and-mortar industry completely, when shopping can be as easy as sending a message on Twitter via your phone it’s certainly around the corner.

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