Amazon continued its ruthless pursuit of domination last week with the announcement of Spark, a social network that’s designed to increase conversation around products and decrease friction in the path to purchase.
Spark looks similar to Instagram in that it is a feed-style interface, but has also been compared to Pinterest for its goal of product discovery, inspiration, purchase and setup. Upon joining, users select at least five interests they want to follow, and Spark will customize your feed around content that relates to those ideas.
Content includes product images and ideas that are curated from Amazon Prime members, using their Amazon profiles. These posts can look similar to traditional product reviews, as a picture is used to accompany someone’s personal experience. Users are also able to append links and polls to their posts as well.
From there, Amazon uses its image recognition technology to determine how many items in the photo can be shopped for on Amazon’s site. This number shows up in the form of a shopping bag on the bottom right of the image. Simply press the part of the image you’d like to learn more about, and you’re directed to Amazon’s site to make the purchase.
To inspire Prime members to begin creating content, Amazon has dubbed those who post as “Enthusiasts”, receiving a digital badge when they post or write a review. Users are able to comment or leave “smiles” (likes) as a way on interacting with posts. Once the app gains traction, it’s not hard to imagine some of these high profile enthusiasts taking in some real money for product posts and reviews.
For brands that sell on Amazon, Spark represents a new avenue of product discovery with an almost seamless path to purchase. Amazon does offer Sponsored posts, and it’s probably worth it to begin experimenting with them. Make sure that you have a good mix of product images and reviews to analyze which content brings the best returns. The prospect of an almost frictionless discovery to purchase cycle makes it tempting not to at least test out.