Amazon has just ventured into unchartered territory where it is now taking on the likes of Pinterest and Instagram with a new social network for shoppers called Amazon Spark. With this social media feature, Amazon wants to push its Amazon Prime subscribers to spend even more. Shashank Venkat with the report
E-commerce giant Amazon has just pulled another rabbit out of its hat. After launching its Prime Wardrobe Service
last month, the internet giant has unveiled Amazon Spark
- a social network designed for shoppers. Currently only open to Prime subscribers on the iOS platform (Android version is in the works) in the US, Amazon Spark is primarily an image-based social network which shows users a feed of photographs like Instagram. Users can tap on these images and purchase products directly from the Amazon app.
Currently, Amazon Spark sits within the Amazon parent app. Although the feature was unveiled last week, the company has been beta-testing it for months now, and there have been reports that Amazon has been paying publishers and influencers to post on Spark. However, Amazon is still not talking a lot about this publicly, because it doesn’t work seamlessly yet.
On the feature front, Amazon Spark has drawn comparisons with both Instagram and Pinterest. However, while these social networks have engagement, attention and scale as their key goals, the objective for Amazon Spark seems to be fairly clear – to get more people to shop on its e-commerce platform.
Amazon Spark will definitely help the company capture some of the social activities and conversations around its products. Be it new launches, Prime Day sales or other company news, Amazon Spark will be able to direct these conversations and social buzz to their intended outcome – product purchases.
This social network should also improve the buying experience on Amazon. Browsing through deals on the Amazon app can be quite a cumbersome process, however Amazon Spark will be like a virtual shopping window to users who can be enticed into making some impulse purchases.
Also, Amazon Spark is different from other social media platforms because it doesn’t have to strive hard to get numbers or scale massively. At least for now, its targets are Amazon’s most engaged users – Amazon Prime subscribers – who are likely to give Amazon Spark a shot anyway. Other social media platforms have to work hard to hit a critical mass before they can think about monetising their services. For Amazon Spark, revenues are a built-in feature since they will take users straight from the images to the product pages. The built-in feature will ensure that the buying experience will be more seamless than clicking on a sponsored post on other social platforms.
It is also a smart move from Amazon because Spark will allow it to target younger shoppers for whom social validation holds immense value. By asking influencers to come on board, the app is likely to attract the followers of these influencers as well. When the platform matures, brands can also use it to promote their products giving Amazon another potential revenue stream. Lastly, it will feed important data about buyer actions into Amazon’s constantly evolving algorithms which will help it to further improve its recommendation engine.
With its direct link to Amazon’s retail business vertical, Amazon Spark seems to be poised for success. Even if it doesn’t take off as a social network, it will continue to serve as a useful feature in the hands of Amazon’s subscribers and improve their customer experience, another strategic obsession of Jeff Bezos. In that sense, Amazon Spark seems to be a win-win!