• Michael Weeding

Just because it can be done does not mean it needs to be done, or does it?

The Nike slogan of “Just Do It” has inspired many, it has been central to their strategy of linking their products and services with the motivation of getting out there and taking on your personal and physical challenges. It is great for inspiring runners, but does the same approach apply to innovation in the digital world, if it can be done it does not always mean that it needs to be done, or does it?

Let’s take the recent example of the much publicised collaboration between Twitter and American Express that will turn the social media service into a shopping cart. American Express members who sign up will be able to buy products by mentioning the appropriate hashtag in a tweet. Now let’s step through the not so straight forward process that a customer has to follow to take advantage of this service:

Step 1: Amex cardholders first sync their card with Twitter. Step 2: American Express will promote products that they are eligible to purchase through a Twitter feed Step 3: The Amex cardholder sends out a tweet that includes a special hashtag. Step 4: Amex will then send them an @-reply with a confirming hashtag. Step 5: Finally, the buyer has to send out a second tweet with the special hashtag within 15 minutes.

Shopping using Twitter is very innovative and could open the door to a whole new way for consumers to purchase in response to advertising, the social way to impulse buy. As a result it is clear the teams at Twitter and Amex have worked hard to figure out a way to deliver this service, the benefit to the consumer is that they can purchase a product without the unnecessary hassle of entering their card details for every transaction. But is this service filling a necessary void in the social-retail algorithm and will become the way cashed up consumers will shop in the future or just a really cool way to link social and retail and if we criticise whether this is truly a valuable service or not we are suffocating the true spirit of digital innovation, because if it can be done we should just do it.


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