Shoppers Stop Engages With #TwitterAuction. Not The World’s First As Claimed

A review of Shopper Stop's Twitter campaign using the hashtag #TwitterAuction, where one can tweet to bid for the product, with the highest bidder winning gift vouchers of the same value.


Shoppers Stop, one of India’s leading retail chains, has launched an auction on Twitter, claiming it to be the world’s first Twitter auction. In a bid to promote the Shoppers Shop sale, the retail brand set out on an auctioning spree that commenced yesterday with a Casio Edifice watch worth Rs. 7495. The auction on the world’s largest townsquare, as Twitter is often referred as, has simple rules and the first winner with the highest number of bids or most tweets for the Casio watch has already been announced. However, the winner will get gift vouchers equal to the value of the product, and not the product itself.

Twitter auctions shoppers stop


All one has to do is to tweet using the hashtag #TwitterAuction and the name of the product being bidded for. And that would be counted as a bid tweet. So the more you tweet, the higher your bid!

But, that would be considered as spam if every tweet has only two terms ‘#TwitterAuction’ and ‘Casio Edifice watch’, and would thereby stand the risk of being banned by Twitter.  Overcoming this in one smart move, the contest enabled people on Twitter to use these two terms in any of their regular tweets. For instance, you can tweet something as logically insane as this: “Hello World! #TwitterAuction Casio Edifice watch”.

Retweets are not counted as bids and the final counting happens at 10 pm, by which time the contest hashtag would have trended on Twitter, after gaining momentum, like this one did. Here’s the brand’s first tweet and some mixed responses from Twitter junta, given the generic nature of the hashtag:

Cool but not the world’s first

#TwitterAuction is a nice way to promote a brand, but calling it the world’s first Twitter auction is a little too stretched. In 2011, we had covered a Twitter auction by Sheepstop, an online store for t-shirts which crowdsources designs from the community. On the occasion of celebrating its second anniversary, Sheepstop had conducted #TwitBid where Twitter users could start bidding for as little as Re.1 for the t-shirt on display. In fact, the auctioning on Twitter was conducted earlier in 2010 as an experiment to increase Twitter engagement.

Nevertheless, this is a nice campaign by Shoppers Stop to help spread buzz on Twitter. However a few things could be improved upon:

1. A generic hashtag although very ‘tweet-able’ and a trend topper, does not add value to the brand and in this case it does not do much for the Shoppers Stop sale.

2. I wonder why the winner will get gift vouchers equal to the value of the product, and not the product itself. If one has bid for a particular watch, one better be given that watch.

3. As per Twitter’s contest guidelines, it is good to ask users to @username you, which is not a rule in the #TwitterAuction campaign.

4. Also, the campaign needs to take care of relevancy in tweets as ‘encouraging users to add your hashtag to totally unrelated updates might cause them to violate the Twitter Rules‘, as per the contest guidelines for Twitter.

I hope these would be considered in the subsequent auctions. For now, all is going good. What do you think of #TwitterAuction?