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Twitter signs Amazon deal to let customers shop by hashtag

Twitter Inc. signed a deal with Amazon.com Inc. to let users shop directly from posts on its microblogging service, part of a push to add e-commerce options for advertisers.

When product links appear in a tweet, U.S. customers can add the items to their Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) shopping carts by replying to the post with the hashtag #AmazonCart, the companies said Monday in a statement. While Twitter (Nasdaq: TWTR) won’t get a cut of individual sales, Amazon will increase spending on Twitter advertising products, said a person with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified because terms aren’t public.

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 aiming 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 direct 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, the world’s largest online retailer, is working to take advantage of potential customers’ impulse-buying habits by making it easy to add items to their shopping carts without ever visiting Amazon.com. Last month, the company unveiled a new device called Dash that customers can use to add items to their online shopping lists by scanning barcodes or speaking the name of the product.

Amazon and Twitter users must connect their accounts on the two websites to enable the new service, and the shopping tweets will be shared publicly in Twitter feeds if the user’s account is unlocked, Seattle-based Amazon said on its website. The items won’t be purchased until users go to their Amazon shopping carts to complete the transactions.

The shares of Amazon rose less than 1 percent to close Monday at $310.05. Twitter shares slipped less than 1 percent to $38.75.

About 480 million shares from Twitter insiders will become eligible for sale tomorrow for the first time since the social- media company’s initial public offering in November. That’s more than four times the current amount available for trading, though some of Twitter’s biggest investors said they plan to hang on to the stock even after a 49 percent gain since the IPO.

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