Amazon Spark

You thought Amazon was having a busy year, what with acquiring Whole Foods and all. Now, the online retail giant is entering the social media game with the launch of Spark, a social feed of user-posted images. The new social feature launched in the states on July 18, 2017.

What is Amazon Spark?

Spark is a social network that takes products available on Amazon and publishes them on an Instagram-style shopping feed. Customers can now interact with people who have similar tastes and interests while they are shopping online. Basically, Amazon wants to turn engagement about their products into purchases.

Love to shop? Spark is a useful way to find products that you like with a bit more help than a keyword search offers. It is another way to promote the products you feel passionately about.

“Amazon Spark is a place to discover things from people who share your interests. Whether you’re looking for inspiration for home décor or seeking advice for the best long-distance running shoes, Spark makes it easy to discover—and shop—stories and ideas from a community that likes what you like.”

 

Amazon Spark social

Discover // Inspire // Shop // Connect ~ Amazon’s four principle tenants of the new network. (Image source: Amazon)

Ever wondered where an Instagram poster found that cute purse/book/sofa? Spark strives to make answering that question easy. It’s not, by any means, an original idea. Clearly inspired by Instagram with a sprinkling of Pinterest thrown in, Spark strives to build a community of like-minded people while keeping engagement about products in the Amazon ecosystem.

How is Spark Similar to Instagram?

  • designed for mobile users
  • image-focused social media channel
  • “feed” format
  • mostly user-generated content with some sponsored

So, if I am following someone who shares my interests, passions, and style, I’ll be able to know just where they got some piece of home decor, or a certain book, or that awesome pair of shoes. Confession time: I’m always too shy to ask a stranger on the street where they got their awesome pair of shoes so this is a nice workaround!

Getting Started with Amazon Spark

WHERE YOU CAN FIND IT

Find Spark in the Amazon app for iPhone. (The Amazon app is free.) Check under “Programs and Features” then click and download the Spark tile. Right now it’s only available in the U.S. on the Amazon app but an Android version is in the works.

WHO CAN USE IT

All customers can view content on Spark but, for now, only Prime members can post and comment. Clearly, this is a push for Prime but at least anyone can review the content.

WHAT TO DO

To get started, you specify five interests, such as technology, fitness+health, or beauty. (You can always add more, which gives you more browsable content.) Then you can add in a profile name and picture. Et voila, you’ve set up your Spark account!

Once that’s all set, view your feed, comment on items, smile {a like/love is called the ‘smile’} posts, and click posted items to buy straight from Amazon. There’s also an Explore tab where you can browse popular or trending products.

Want to post something yourself? Go to the top of your feed and click into the posting widget. Select a photo, tag/find items on Amazon, and then write a little text. Spark is all about sharing items quickly and easily. Users can also run polls between Amazon products so their social network can provide feedback and information on prospective purchases.

Spark Has a Leg Up But Will It Survive?

Obviously, Spark helps drive Amazon sales. However, posters don’t get any compensation. So who does Spark help? Product creators will likely appreciate a new way to connect with audiences. Amazon reviewers can use it to boost their visibility. Shoppers are sure to find it comes in handy. (Its user-friendly interface makes impulse buys all-to-easy.)

Without leaving the Amazon application, users can purchase products on Spark. This is pretty exciting for consumers, because there is no disruption in their flow. Spark makes its shopping experience social. Instagram has struggled with the flip-side of that – making their social experience shoppable. Many brands and fashion bloggers have found workarounds to making their Instagram feeds shoppable (a popular one is using https://www.liketoknow.it/) but Amazon Spark has the leg up. Spark users can shop on Amazon without ever leaving the social site and that is powerful.

Instagram is for sure Amazon’s biggest competitor right now, as the company is working on making shoppable product galleries. The Facebook-owned social platform is even testing shoppable photo tags. So Amazon has its work cut out for it if it wants to make this a successful leap forward in the social sphere. But for now, Amazon has a head start, what with its e-commerce component integrated directly in the social feeds.

I’m very curious to see how things turn out for Spark and whether it will be as widely adopted as Instagram. Personally, I’m not completely sold on the idea but I do know it should not be ignored. What are your thoughts on Amazon venturing into yet another new space: social media? Will Spark peter out or becomes the ‘new’ way to shop on mobile?

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