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A second look at #AmazonCart – is it working?




AmazonCartLast month, Amazon launched a new service that lets you shop right from Twitter. The concept sounds simple but even after several tries I’m still a little confused.

The idea is this, you’re reading your Twitter feed and someone you follow posts a Tweet about a new DVD release. The tweet includes an Amazon link. You want this DVD so you reply to the tweeter and you add #AmazonCart to your Tweet.

Sometime later (first try took days, second try took seconds), you get a confirmation message from Amazon saying the item has been added to your cart. To actually buy the item, you have to go to Amazon and checkout. For obvious reasons, you can’t checkout via another tweet.

Simply Measured put together a chart showing related actions following the initial announcement.

AmazonCart Usage via Simply Measured

The first few days were full of excitement. Most of the mentions were retweets and news outlets talking about the concept. Remember, for the system to work, you have to REPLY to the originator not RETWEET. By the end of the first week, people were over it and everything dropped off. Then a weird thing happened. It started to take hold again but this time it was a rise in replies – which indicates usage of the system.

One small burst then another drop off. Hmmm…

I did an unofficial study of my own and found that authors are working that hashtag hard.

Notice how the instructions are right in the tweet. I tried using the hashtag today for a Kindle book and got this in my email:

No digital

No digital, huh? That hasn’t stopped hundreds of Kindle authors, including myself from suggesting people use the hashtag. It may not work properly but it still sends an email with a link right to the interested party plus it gives the author another level of visibility.

Next best use of the system: DVD sales

I also saw Viva papertowels using it and I saw someone reply to put those towels in their cart. Makes me wonder though if people really understand what they’re doing. A quick glance at this Tweet might make you think you’re getting a freebie.

I think the learning curve for #AmazonCart is a little steep. Technically it will work on any Tweet with an Amazon link but how long will it be before we’ve trained consumers to reply with the hashtag without prompting. Adding the prompt takes up half your message space which means you have to be ultra creative to make this work.

Is it a good idea? Yes. I often see mentions of upcoming DVDs that I’d like to check out. With AmazonCart, I can create a reminder without leaving Twitter. But here’s the thing, I buy a lot of stuff from Amazon but I’ve never used the system except for the two times I was testing the service.

You?