By Diana Gordon, Shop+, Mindshare — July, 2017
Amazon is continuing to grow its ecosystem by launching its own version of a social media network. Amazon Spark features lifestyle and product imagery as well as user general content in a newsfeed like format that can receive likes and comments. Sound familiar? It should as it seems to be inspired by Instagram’s shoppable photos.
Details and Implications
The platform is currently only available in the US via the iOS Amazon App and does require some navigation to access.
After some initial inputs, including a minimum of 5 categories of interest, Amazon Spark will provide Prime members with a customised content feed of products, images and ideas. Where the content features a product sold by Amazon, a page will indicate the image is shoppable and clicking on the image will bring users to the product detail page on Amazon.
An advantage for Amazon is it’s potential to modify content based on product availability, on other platforms, such as Instagram Shoppable Photos and Pinterest Shoppable Pins, products can be no longer available for purchase or out of stock when a user clicks to buy. Amazon controls the whole supply chain in this new offering.
Amazon Spark may also usher in a new class of social media influencer, encouraging Prime members who meet certain criteria - a minimum amount of spend on Amazon - to post to Spark about their experiences and leave product reviews. Spark Enthusiasts will replace Top Reviewers in a Prime member’s profile.
Amazon Spark is aimed at fuelling product discovery and exploration but it doesn’t seem like a big leap that data collected via Spark may also enable new product offerings and services from Amazon. By providing Amazon information about the categories and topics you are interested in and real-time feedback through comments and likes, Amazon could start offering other ‘surprise and delight’ monthly subscriptions like Stitch Fix and Birch Box. Earlier this month, Amazon launched Meal Kit Delivery (a box of ingredients and a recipe to go with it delivered to your door), indicating this is a popular enough format to explore.
There are currently no opportunities for brands to advertise on Spark with paid media, but it is safe to assume this will be a feature in the not too distant future. With 55% of product searches beginning on Amazon in the US vs traditional search engines like Google, consumers are becoming increasingly confident with Amazon as a product suggestion engine; visual search feels like a natural progression.
Amazon Spark is a new endeavor to keep Prime members engaged within the Amazon ecosystem. Spark is designed to feel and function as a social media environment complete with influencers, likes and stories. Per eMarketer, US Adults spend almost an hour a day with social media properties; if Amazon can steal just a fraction of that attention it heightens its ability to acquire new Prime members and sell more stuff.