Twitter and Amazon launch hashtag shopping service

Twitter Inc. is teaming up with Inc. to let users shop directly from posts on its microblogging service, part of a push to keep members engaged by adding e-commerce.

When links to products appear in a tweet, customers can add those items to their Amazon shopping carts by sending a reply to the posting with the hashtag #AmazonCart, the companies said Monday in a statement. The items won’t be purchased until the user goes back to Amazon to buy.

Twitter has been seeking to woo advertisers and retailers by adding tools to help them reach its 255 million users. By enabling e-commerce, Twitter is seeking to keep consumers on its site for longer and learn more about their interests and shopping habits – valuable information for advertisers, which contribute the bulk of the company’s revenue.

The company has been exploring adding shopping options on the site, and last year hired former Ticketmaster executive Nathan Hubbard as head of commerce to bolster its efforts. In an interview last week, Chief Executive Officer Dick Costolo said shopping on the site would have the same real-time feel as the rest of the Twitter experience.

“I think about our commerce opportunity as commerce in the moment,” Costolo said, after the San Francisco-based company reported earnings.

Amazon and Twitter users must connect their accounts on the two websites to enable the service, and the shopping tweets will be shared publicly in Twitter feeds if the user’s account is public, Seattle-based Amazon said on its website.