Tweet to Buy

David Wagner, Managing Editor | 2/14/2013 | 37 comments

David Wagner
American Express is jumping into social selling, and CIOs need to pay attention. Hint: #CIO #AMEX #frictionlessretail #tweetforstuf #personallyIhatehashtags

Seriously, American Express is letting you buy stuff just by Tweeting with the right hashtag. You sync your card with them, and whenever you use certain tags, they process the purchase and send you the goods with no extra muss or bother.

Right now, you can buy American Express gift cards (at a discount) for products from Amazon, Sony, and for the Xbox360. There’s even Donna Karan jewelry. All sent with free two-day shipping.

There are some serious implications to this.

Amex gets serious about social selling
The first thing to consider is whether this is what social selling needed to kick it into high gear. Sure, Pinterest has been very interesting to retailers because people could pin stuff they wanted or liked and it made for a quick way for influencers to promote products. The thing about Pinterest is that it could be a passive process. If you pinned your new favorite car, there wasn’t necessarily a call to action associated with it.

On the other hand, imagine a public tweet that reads: "Just bought Donna Karen’s new diamond bracelet. #braceletx #Amex #spoiledwife #youknowyouwantit"

That might be just enough to get the juices flowing for others to buy the same or similar products. We all know that wanting and buying something aren’t the same thing. The fact that an influencer bought the product, and you saw it in real-time, may be powerful for retailers.

Of course, there are some downsides. Security is obvious. Twitter accounts aren’t known for being the safest of places to sync your American Express card. Let’s say for argument's sake that the security issues are resolved: Do you really want your Twitter account to be as secure as your financial accounts? Are average Twitter users going to want to take the care they should?

Just as important is the issue of cataloguing. With a limited supply of products, the hashtags available won’t be that hard to sort through. But as the products on offer continue to grow, so will the need for unique hashtags. Once you need to go looking for the hashtag to buy the thing you already know you want, it's not a big leap to wonder whether going to Amazon or Sony directly isn’t faster, particularly since Amazon already offers one-click purchasing synced to credit cards.

Still, American Express is making a notable leap, and CIOs need to watch this carefully. If social selling takes another step forward, CIOs (along with CMO partners) need to be ready to respond. Other financial services companies will surely be compelled to follow suit. Retailers will need to find a way to make the purchase a social event.

Can a Tweet about one person buying something inspire another person to also buy it? We don’t know yet. If it can, you'd better be ready to make sure your customers are Tweeting about their purchases.

View Comments: Newest First | Oldest First | Threaded View
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tjgkg   Tweet to Buy   3/5/2013 6:40:34 AM
Re: Don't Trust The Hash
At this point with online minefields what they are, I will stick with Amazon or another company with a long history of online selling and a review base that is pretty reliable. Twitter, maybe I am just an old fogey, is not for me.
tjgkg   Tweet to Buy   3/5/2013 6:38:33 AM
Re: Not a good idea
I guess it is like Chase with those Ink ads and other credit card companies. THey are a gold mine of revenue if tapped correctly. Thankfully I haven't had to worry about a stolen AMEX number but, yes they lost card coverage would apply here.
tjgkg   Tweet to Buy   3/5/2013 6:31:13 AM
Re: Social selling will be Big
With spoofing and phishing, things have changed. Impulse buying on line can be a minefield if you are not careful.
batye   Tweet to Buy   3/3/2013 10:27:10 PM
Re: Risky , yes.
could not agree more... myself only 2 years ago I jumped on the facebook and 16 months on twitter ... but I'm still paranoid about social media... as yes it good for a Co... but could be dangerous consumer...

maybe I seen to much evil in my life...or maybe I need a shrink...

I do not know... as how I see it  social media is a tool or in some cases is a gun... without safety...

My late mother God bless her soul - always warn me Nothing is free in this World... and you pay now or pay later for something free...
kstaron   Tweet to Buy   2/21/2013 11:58:01 AM
Pushing prospective buyers
I think the fact that someone you "know" bought it, may influence your decision, if you were already thinking about it. But that's half of what marketing is, getting the message to the people that were thinking about buying and pusHing them over that edge so they buy from you.

It's an interesting concept, but I have to cringe at the idea of tweeting to buy, imagine if you kid started tweeting? Instead of a little embarrassment you might end up with a big AMEX bill.
Taimoor Zubair   Tweet to Buy   2/21/2013 9:18:58 AM
Risky , yes.
It's risky for the potential customers but it's good for the company. It's not their loss or risk. I usually get inspired by my friends experiences about the things i want to buy. Now, i may not tweet to buy but i'd definitely consider something a friend tweeted about.
stotheco   Tweet to Buy   2/21/2013 9:09:18 AM
Re: good marketing strategy
But Taimoor, what about the security issues? Wouldn't that hinder you from making a purchase? Just seems too risky for me!
impactnow   Tweet to Buy   2/20/2013 12:53:37 PM
Security still concerning
I think friends absolutely influence purchases however I think the security implications of this are still too uncertain for me. I applaud AMEX for taking the risk but I think time will tell if it's worth it for them. I am sure there are dozens of hackers out there licking their chops for access to all these AMEX accounts.
angelfuego   Tweet to Buy   2/19/2013 6:50:41 PM
Re: good marketing strategy
I don't have any social media accounts, and this new tweet to buy concept wouldn't make me start up a Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest page/ account, but I do think this is a really good marketing strategy that could be very successful.
singlemud   Tweet to Buy   2/18/2013 7:05:18 PM
Re: good marketing strategy
Agree. It is all about fashion. We do not want to be out. We follow the trend, buying our friends's buying. It is good marketing strategy: tweet to buy or like to buy
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