Is “Pay by Hashtag” the Future of Social Commerce?

By Jeff Epstein

The marriage of social media and e-commerce continues to blossom. And with American Express’s recent announcement of its new “pay-by-hashtag” feature on Twitter, the love between these two Web industries has never been stronger.

This new service allows Twitter users to make purchases via Twitter by simply synchronizing an American Express credit card with an existing Twitter account. So when potential customers see a product or service they like, they just tweet the corresponding hashtag. @AmexSync will then respond with a confirmation tweet. Once the user retweets that confirmation hashtag within 15 minutes, the order is complete.

American Express is a known innovator within the financial services industry, having already partnered with Foursquare and established its own B2B social media community called OPEN Forum. But the pay-by-hashtag feature really highlights the greatest benefits of social commerce.



Each time a purchase is made using a specific hashtag, there is a possibility of trending on Twitter. This is a phenomenal opportunity for not only increasing your brand’s reach, but also promoting a specific product or feature. (A referral reward code, perhaps?)

It also makes direct purchases via social media channels that much easier. Gone are the days when complicated registration forms ultimately led to shopping cart abandonment. Now a customer can simply tweet and buy without any hassles.

Finally, consider the potential impact on your company’s next referral marketing campaign. In a world where purchasing decisions are regularly based on a friend’s recommendation, seeing the brands they love right on your Twitter feed will give your followers the ability to become engaged with your brand and make a purchase.

Currently the pay-by-hashtag feature is exclusive to American Express. But with such a great opportunity to capitalize on Twitter’s social commerce potential, it’s not hard to imagine a world in which “pay by hashtag” becomes the norm.

What do you think? Is “pay by hashtag” the future of social commerce?

Tags: Social Media, Social Commerce

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