The retailer that claims more than a third of all e-commerce business in the U.S. is taking steps to boost that share even more with Amazon Spark.
With the launch of its new Facebook-meets-shopping platform Spark, Amazon is dipping its toes in the social commerce waters and hoping it makes a splash.
But will it?
Amazon Spark: The Social Platform for Prime Users
Put simply, Amazon spark is a product discovery feed.
On first glance, it looks similar to Facebook or LinkedIn’s newsfeeds, only the images are clickable, taking you directly to an Amazon product page for easy purchasing.
Users can share content, including photos, products, links, polls, questions or even just plain text, and then you “tag” up to five interests/categories that your post falls into.
You can even tag products directly in images, much like you’d tag a friend on a Facebook photo. The post is then shared with other users who are interested in the same categories as your post.
Unlike other social platforms, the goal of Spark isn’t to connect you with people you already know and socialize with.
It’s to expose you to new, relevant products that Amazon thinks you may be interested in purchasing.
Personalizing Your Spark Feed
On first login, Amazon will simply show you products it thinks you’ll be interested in based on your past purchases, subscriptions and other account details. But if you’re looking for a more relevant experience, head to the “Personalize Your Feed” area, and select all the categories you want to see content from. You can select as many or as few as you like.
If you want to find content around a specific topic, you can navigate to the “Explore” area of the platform, type in your subject and hit search. You’ll see a short list of the top posts related to that topic.
Much like Facebook, you also have a “Profile” on Spark that other users can view if they click your posts. It has a spot for a picture, your interests and your recent posts. You can also head here to see how many views, “hearts,” “smiles” and comments you’ve posted. Just click the “Your Activity” tab at the bottom of the app.
Notes To Consider:
Spark isn’t publicly available just yet.
Currently, the platform is only available to Amazon Prime members using the Amazon mobile app on iPhone or Android. It is not available on desktop (because the app isn’t). It remains to be seen when – or if – the platform will expand beyond those borders.
It’s also important to note that despite the app’s interaction with your purchase history, other Spark users aren’t able to see what you’re buying on Amazon. Both your shopping and browsing history remain private.
The only thing other users can see is your profile, the interests you’ve chosen to follow, and any posts, comments or reviews you’ve written on Amazon, Amazon Spark or Amazon’s products.
Starting with Spark
You’ll first need a Prime membership and the Amazon app for iPhone or Android. Once you’ve installed the app and logged in, open the main menu you and hit “Programs and Features.” Amazon Spark should be at the very bottom of the list.
Browse the content currently in your feed, or scroll down to personalize your experience. Customize your profile image or add your first post by heading to “Your Activity.”
The Future of Amazon Spark
Opportunities for social commerce have exploded over the past few years. Instagram and Pinterest have now integrated retail experiences, and Facebook’s Store feature is another way to eke sales out of social followers. You can even order a pizza using text emojis or send money to sellers via Facebook Messenger.
As Spark is only limited to Amazon Prime members at the moment, it’s not likely to make too huge of a splash right off the bat. Though Prime shoppers have proven to be some of the most voracious consumers in today’s marketplace, so only time will tell.
The real money making in Spark will happen when the app opens up to paid advertising and sponsorships.
That’s when brands and influencers will be able to leverage the platform to showcase their products to the most relevant and qualified audiences.
To learn more about Amazon Spark, email [email protected]