Usability Disrupt: Amazon Hashtag Shopping

Shop Amazon via twitter?


Amazon’s latest attempt at making shopping easier and more in sync with social media, they have launched a partnership with twitter that allows customers to hashtag shop.

The latest hashtag shopping is called #amazoncart, and users can simply link their amazon with their twitter accounts. Then when an item appears in their feed and they wish to purchase it, they simply type #amazoncart and the product is theirs. The product of the twitterer’s choosing is then put in their amazon cart, and followed up with an email. When users are ready to buy the item, they simply follow the link provided in the email and confirm their purchase.

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Intuitive & Accessible

Gartner defines usability as affecting how customers perceive and respond to products, services and artifacts of all types, including websites and applications.

With usability in mind, hashtag shopping is an excellent example of an intuitive and accessible strategy.

It does not demand that the user click out or switch apps in order to make a purchase, and it works with the user’s current social media of choice without making them leave to search for a product. It’s smart and still tremendously user-responsive.

Amazon’s Hashtag shopping helps to maintain a seamless experience for the user by connecting with potential customers without disconnecting them from their own social media experience. Twitter users do not have to remember separate logins or passwords, and they do not have to stop what they’re doing in order to make a purchase. It’s so simple, the purchases practically make themselves.

Understanding User Limitations

But in order to create hashtag shopping this easy for the user, it means that amazon looked hard at not only their potential user’s needs, but also their limitations, which is critical to building better usability. In fact, knowing their users limitations may have been their most significant boost.

With only .07% of Amazon’s traffic coming from twitter users, Amazon recognized a potential market and created an easy way to grab new amazon shoppers by making the shopping transition easy for them. 

These are savvy social media users, and for these users, hashtag shopping is already so intuitive, that it does not require learning an entirely new skill or system. It is simple, and offers minimal room for error and guides the user towards their purchase with ease.

Evaluate Success

Amazon has said that it will evaluate how the hashtag shopping goes with twitter before possibly moving it into other areas of social media.

With evaluation critical to continuing to advance usability, they will have to keep ahead of their user’s needs by continuing to evaluate and reevaluate the success of hashtag shopping via twitter.

But Amazon has most definitely made strides in this area of the market.

Perhaps the ultimate strength of usability is one where the product comes to the user before the user even knows they need it or want it. Following the heels of the successful hashtag promotions of other large companies, hashtag shopping should not come as a surprise, but it is still an interesting addition to the online shopping experience.

It’s efficient, its memorable, its intuitive and it leaves little room for error. We’ll now wait to see how the hashtag shopping experience plays out, but at this point it is easy to assume that there will be new opportunities for users to shop, and then share.


Jessica is the Lead Author & Editor of UsabilityLab Blog. Jessica writes for the UsabilityLab blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to usability.