Archive for May, 2014

What's it like being an apprentice at Together?

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

As you might remember from last week’s post, we have a development apprentice with us at the moment. He’s been here almost a month, so we thought it’d be useful to hear how he’s getting on – and what office life is like for a student these days.

Here’s what he had to say:

My first few weeks at Together have involved taking in a lot of information not just about web development, but working in a business environment as a whole. Most of my time here has been spent with Craig [head developer], who has been teaching me the ropes of back-end and front-end web development. It’s been more challenging than I expected, which makes me appreciate what a hard job Craig has, and I hope that I could be half as good as him one day. I’ve been handling the odd web development jobs that need doing, which will give me the experience and knowledge I need to take on more complex work in the future.

The most enjoyable part so far has been learning to code the basics of CSS, which is a really creative language that can make your websites look exactly how you want them. I have also enjoyed just being in a business environment and working with a wide range of personalities.

I hope that I can grow as not only a web developer here, but as a person as well. I’m looking forward to the future and the exciting challenges that lay ahead for me.

Chris has already helped us out loads (there’s always more than enough work for developers, as they’ll tell you!), and we’re really enjoying having him around. Even if he did add James Blunt to the office playlist.

The Apprentice: Together edition

Monday, May 19th, 2014

Meet Chris Simpson, who’s joined us through the National Apprenticeship Scheme.


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He’s studying IT at NiTP – part of New College Nottingham – and is coming to us to work on his web development and marketing skills.

Chris likes Notts County, has a dog called Bailey, and can name every nation’s flag (although we haven’t tested this yet). Depressingly for the older folks among us, he was also born in 1997. Yikes.

Welcome, Chris – it’s great to have you with us.

Buying on Twitter moves a step closer with #AmazonBasket

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

Social commerce just took a big step forward with the launch of Amazon and Twitter’s joint venture, #AmazonBasket (or #AmazonCart in the US). This impressive feature lets lets Twitter users add products to their Amazon shopping baskets without even leaving the social platform – just by replying to a tweet containing an Amazon link with the hashtag #AmazonBasket.

It requires no set-up and no downloads – it just works. Sound incredible? Watch the video here:

See, we told you. We’re really interested to see how this merger of a global e-commerce website and social media platform will go, especially after the #fail of F-Commerce circa 2010. Big name brands like ASOS invested in custom-built apps to let their audience purchase products through Facebook, like this:


Image via

But the idea just never took off. As F-Commerce sales fell and fell, a survey showed that just 26% of consumers felt secure making purchases through a Facebook storefront. ASOS removed the feature and F-Commerce was considered a failure.

But maybe it was just ahead of its time.

What do people think of #AmazonBasket?

Predictably, #AmazonBasket has been hailed as an industry game-changer and the proper launch of social commerce (poor old Facebook). Consumer reactions are also pretty positive, based on our sentiment analysis of US and UK tweets using Topsy:

Amazon Cart vs Basket

So what are the benefits?

We can see this campaign benefiting users, engagement and customer service:

More than 80% of UK users access Twitter through their mobile device. #AmazonBasket is clearly targeted at people on the move – checking their social media accounts while commuting, relaxing or waiting, and this feature is a great way for them to save a product for later that they might otherwise forget.

Engagement and social monitoring: 
#AmazonBasket is a great way for Amazon to boost their engagement through social media. Now every time they tweet about a product, they’re giving people an opportunity to reply with #AmazonBasket. Here’s a tweet they sent out earlier, which has already had a strong response in terms of retweets, favourites and baskets:


Customer service: 

The custom #AmazonBasket hashtag is nice example of social media best practice – it allows Amazon to track their customers’ opinions and actions, which they can use to improve customer service levels. For instance, once someone replies to a product tweet with #AmazonBasket, they get a thank you email and confirmation tweet, giving a positive customer experience.


It’s also pretty thoughtful that Amazon created different hashtags for US and UK customers (basket > cart!) – although we wonder how clumsy it’d get if you had, say, 10 English-speaking countries participating.

What’s in it for Twitter?

It looks like Twitter aren’t getting any of the revenue from #AmazonBasket. But this project shows the enormous potential Twitter has as a social commerce platform, which should prompt other companies to start thinking about how they can collaborate to raise sales and break new ground. And that could be a huge revenue stream for Twitter.

All of which leads us to wonder what’s next. Will you be able to buy an Oreo by tweeting #DunkInTheDark? Will tweeting that you’re “loving” your new haircut lead to a Big Mac arriving at your door? And what on earth will happen if you tweet Ed Balls?!

We don’t know. But in the meantime, you’ll find us by the postbox, dealing with the thousands of parcels we just got from Amazon.