Future of E-Commerce: Buying with Comments and Hashtags

Facebook’s next step towards engaging users to shop on the social network (read: Facebook’s next attempt to desperately please investors) is integrating with Chirpify to let users buy through comments. All users do is comment “buy” under the promotion and Chirpify purchases the item for you. No longer must we toil through one-click paths to purchase, this is the one word buying era.

Facebook is gradually introducing Chirpify to its users by letting only select brands test the system. Tim McGraw’s people posted a status last Tuesday for users to buy his new album which sold out after less than 24 hours.

facebook3.4Facebook has been playing around with the idea of social buying for a while now. Facebook Gifts encourages users send Starbucks gift cards to friends on their birthdays. This tactic is more reactionary than Chirpify because you’re already planning to wish your friend happy birthday, buying a Starbucks gift card is only an extra click. Facebook Gifts is an upsell, Chirpify is a new method of payment.

As far as immediate social buying goes, Facebook is relatively late to the party. Insta-buying through Chirpify has been on Instagram since October and on Twitter since spring 2012. Plus, e-commerce isn’t limited to apps and third-party services. Last month, American Express announced a partnership with Twitter to connect cardholder accounts with the social network. Rather than signing up for a separate service, Amex customers can just tweet a hashtag and then tweet a confirmation hashtag sent by the @Amexsync account.

The pros – and endless possibilities – for immediate e-commerce are no brainers. With one-step purchases, users are more inclined to impulse buy as they don’t have time to think over their purchase while adding to shopping carts and looking for credit card numbers. Social purchases also spread brand names across the Internet. People have to tweet with the Amex hashtag, inadvertently advertising for the company through word of mouth. Facebook shows what threads your friends comment on, which will promote the pages of brands they just bought from. It also goes without saying that marketing managers looking to measure social media ROI will love the concrete sales figures.

buyallthethingsmeme3.4newsAs easy as it may seem to buy all the things, there are still some kinks to work out and ways for Chirpify and Amex to mess up. On Facebook and Instagram, users who are particularly excited about their purchase can’t add to their comments. Commenting “Buy!!!” won’t register the purchase. With Twitter, the issue is crossing the line between sharing activities and adding to the noise. We’ve all unfollowed someone who checked into Foursquare 40 times a day, kept earning stickers on GetGlue or auto-tweeted after every YouTube video they watched. Amex hashtags clogging up the feed could hurt the company’s brand in the long run.

Facebook is revealing news feed changes later this week and critics are already wondering if the new look will be too ad-cluttered. Between suggested pages, deals, sponsored posts, gifts and now Chirpify, Facebook could be pushing users over their advertisement threshold. If it does, users could go to other platforms to buy their messenger bags and headbands.

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Amanda Dodge