AmazonCart is a solution in search of a problem


By Patrick Salyer

It’s important to note that retailers often see purchases start on social networks like Twitter when consumers share products from retailers’ sites and recommend those products to their friends. This can generate significant revenue for those retailers – Dell most notably touts the revenue it has generated from Twitter referrals.

However, concepts like "f-commerce" (online storefronts embedded into Facebook), have resoundingly failed. The much larger opportunity for retailers and social commerce is in allowing shoppers to leverage their social network credentials on retail sites through technologies like social login which allow users to register/sign in without needing to fill out lengthy registration forms and provide retailers with rich permission-based data that can personalise the shopping experience.

AmazonBasket/AmazonCart is largely a data play for Amazon. One of the reasons Amazon has become the most prolific ecommerce company in the world because of its ability to understand and cater to individual customers – something apparent in its highly targeted product recommendations. By getting users to link their Amazon accounts with their Twitter accounts, the company is hoping to gain a better, more complete understanding of its users.

If Amazon knows my purchase and browsing history on and then tie that to my Twitter identity and even my location using Twitter’s geolocation features, it can personalise and recommend products to me in an even more accurate, relevant way. That is, of course, assuming I and droves of other consumers adopt AmazonBasket/AmazonCart.

Frictionless user experience and continuity are essential in ecommerce. Consumers have hair triggers when it comes to online shopping and any additional friction in the shopping experience can lead to shopping cart abandonment. Asking consumers to add items to their baskets by replying to tweets on Twitter and then go over to to complete the purchase doesn’t strike me as very intuitive and would seem to add friction to the shopping experience rather than reducing it.

While it’s great to see Amazon push the boundaries of social commerce, the company is taking on an immense challenge – getting consumers to shop on the social networks themselves.

About the author

Patrick Salyer is CEO of Gigya

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