Amazon Spark: The E-Commerce Giant Makes A New Move Towards Social Buying

With the acquisition of Whole Foods Market a couple of weeks ago, Amazon has demonstrated its ambition to keep gaining more presence in its customers’ lives. Amazon, which started as an online bookstore, has been conquering and consolidating its business within the electronics, retail, and food categories, amongst several others. Though the fashion category has already being gaining strength within the platform over the last years, Amazon has recently begun to make significant moves in this category. This time the e-commerce giant has taken a slightly different approach: Amazon Spark, a newly launched shoppable feed of stories and photos directed at Prime members.

About Amazon Spark

Spark is a new social network feature on Amazon available to everyone with a smartphone and an Amazon Prime account. The app shows users a feed of photographs and videos that can be clicked on to go directly to the product pages on the e-commerce website, very similar to Pinterest’s function in a platform quite similar to Instagram, but with the e-commerce touch. But how does it work? When a user first visits Spark, he can pick a series of interests and Amazon will create a feed based on the user’s input, showing every user a personalized content feed. This allows users, labeled “enthusiasts,” to post their own content and discover and shop ideas, instead of only searching for specific products. At the same time, users are able to see others’ content and interact with people by commenting or leaving a “smile,” similar to a Facebook “like.” If a user desires to purchase something from the feed, he must only tap on a product link or photo with the shopping bag icon. Spark not only helps define Amazon as a pathway to encourage more “young” people to discover new products and to shop in a way that feels natural to them, but also helps >boost the social aspect of Amazon.

There is even more to this. Amazon has also invited publishers including influencers and bloggers to post on Amazon Spark. This creates a great benefit for both parties: influencers gain another social channel--a very powerful one in respect to e-commerce--to create relevant content, and Amazon drives more traffic to its platform, specifically from influencers’ followers. As brands are beginning to gain prominence on Instagram, Facebook and Youtube with the use influencers, Spark now has the chance to shift some of these social customers onto its platform, allowing them to create their own content and to shop effortlessly.

The benefit for brands? Amazon Spark will not only allow brands to find new ways to connect with their audience by sharing their products through stories and ideas, but will also, in a not so distant future, potentially allow them to track their own marketing strategies by following a customer’s behavior pattern-- from their initial interest in a product to a complete purchase.

For the moment, Amazon Spark is only available in the United States for iOS on the Amazon App for iPhone and iPad, and for customers who have an Amazon Prime subscription.