2013 has been a good year for Twitter so far. They recently released their new and innovative Vine app to allow 6-second video to be tweeted. Vine’s opportunities for consumers and businesses alike are vast. But it looks like Twitter is following Vine with even more changes to improve the service. Twitter is entering e-commerce.
Hashtag Purchases (for AmEx Card Owners)
Yesterday afternoon and into the evening reports began to surface that Twitter had entered the e-commerce world by allowing direct purchases through tweets. Heather Kelly at CNN writes, “It’s now possible to buy goods online in two steps by tweeting a special hashtag.” Unfortunately, this new feature won’t be available to everyone, yet. Currently it’s only working with American Express Cardholders.
The way it works seems pretty simple. As Daniel Terdiman writes for CNET, users tweet the special hashtag and “Amex will send them an @-reply with a confirming hashtag” Then the buyer tweets again with the special hashtag within 15 minutes to confirm the purchase. This sounds easy enough to me, and it will be interesting to see how many consumers adopt this process for making purchases. I’m not a huge Twitter fan, so I doubt I will.
A great part of the design of this system is that these tweets are made public. This is huge for Twitter and companies that want to sell on the platform. Discounts and promotions that someone takes advantage of will be public in their feed. Not only will companies be making sales of actual products, but they will be getting free advertising in return. There are a lot of opportunities here for businesses and agencies to get a lot of free social media exposure on promotions or deals they are running.
This is a great direction for Twitter to move. It’s great for consumers and users, as well as for businesses and agencies. Combine purchase with timely tweets and Vine posts and you’ve got a recipe for all sorts of interesting marketing possibilities. I’m really excited to see where some brands take this. And although it might be limiting at the start to have it only through Amex, that doesn’t mean it won’t grow in access in the future.
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Good for Mobile?
Mobile commerce will benefit a great deal as well. Making purchases this way from a mobile device is just as easy as it would be from a desktop or laptop. This is also great for Twitter since a story posted yesterday by Darrell Etherington on TechCrunch reports, “Twitter’s mobile-first users are more engaged than mobile users in more ways than one.” Essential the study found that these mobile-first users are younger and much more receptive to marketing on Twitter and social media.
Pieces Coming Together for Twitter
I think all of the recent innovation and developments out of Twitter are great. For such a simple service it really packs a lot of power. That strength is only increasing with Vine and this new hashtag purchasing ability. I’m looking forward to what Twitter thinks of next.
What do you think of hashtag purchases? How do you think companies will take advantage of this new service, especially if it opens up to all users?