Hashtag Shopping: Amex Sync Lets Cardholders Tweet To Purchase

twitter + AMEX (Amex Sync YouTube video)With the new Amex Sync program, American Express cardholders can now use a Twitter hashtag to make purchases directly on the social network.

Amex cardholders were already been able to link their accounts to Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Xbox Live in order to receive special discounts.  Since the company began providing offers and deals on Twitter a year ago, cardholders have saved “millions of dollars” from “thousands of merchants,” according to Leslie Berland, the SVP of digital partnerships and development at American Express (AllThingsD).

Amex Sync On TwitterThis new service marks the first time that cardholders are able to actually make purchases from within a social network.  And Twitter is just the start; Berland told AllThingsD that eventually this type of commerce will come to other platforms, including Facebook.

How exactly does it work?  Cardholders now have to register for the service (even if their account is already linked to Twitter) and provide a physical address for product delivery. Deals will be available with specific hashtags (for instance, starting on Monday, customers who tweet #BuyAmexGiftCard25 will receive a $25 AmEx giftcard for just $15) and are sent via free two-day shipping.  American Express replies with a confirmation hashtag, and customers just tweet the hashtag (within 15 minutes) to confirm their purchase.

The fine print:  the service doesn’t work for prepaid or corporate cardholders, and is only available for those with a public Twitter account.  This means that every time a customer tweets to purchase with a hashtag, that tweet is public information — and an effective advertisement for the companies involved.

Each deal will be offered for a three week period.  Starting Wednesday, American Express will offer its first round of discounted products, including an Amazon Kindle Fire, a Sony Action cam, a Donna Karan-designed bracelet and an Xbox 360 (CNN).

So far, the tweet-buying is only for selected, discounted products – which are available for a limited time.  But the hashtag purchase process is simple, and CNN speculates that “If it takes off, we could see hashtags for products in commercials and print ads.”  What do you think – do you see a future in hashtag shopping?

Watch this video to learn more about how Amex Sync works: