Jeff Bezos’ perfect summer. No, it’s not the title of a new Hollywood film, it’s the real headline about the life of a man who just became the richest person in the world, surpassing Bill Gates (for now anyway). Jeff turns out one new thing after another and seems totally unstoppable. He started with Amazon Prime Now, then just over a month ago came Amazon Wardrobe, and now there’s Amazon Spark, the social network for online shopping.
From TV home shopping to social networks: the simpler the better
Remember how TV home shopping used to feel? That simplicity of being able to buy something over the phone from the comfort of your living room sofa. You could order all kinds of items you’d just seen on TV by giving the operator a simple code. It felt like real innovation in the world of shopping, and it was – until the arrival of e-commerce. But now even that is being called into the ring to face off against social media.
Amazon has decided to use the same concept of TV home shopping but in version 2.0, and thus Amazon Spark was born. The idea is as simple as it is full of potential: Prime users share their experiences on social networks, you scroll through their photos and can buy whatever you like. So what’s the revolution there? There are no external links, so with just a couple clicks you make your purchase without ever leaving the app. This new function lets you post stories, ideas and images of lots of products, which your followers can comment and leave smileys on. The social feed will then have a shopping cart in the bottom right, showing the number of buyable items in an image. And it’s not limited to clothes and accessories – it’s for things in the background too. For example, you could buy tickets to an exhibition or park that featured in a photo. And being part of the Prime network, every purchase is delivered within a day.
Amazon Spark, the perfect fusion of e-commerce and social media
Amazon Spark is shooting for simplicity: it asks users to select at least 5 interests from the categories (fashion, books, sports, IT, home decor, cooking and many more), and then based on those choices it shows a feed of targeted photos and videos from which users can buy items.
Jeff Bezos’ end goal is to create a giant catalog of content supplied by Prime subscribers, and he’d add the power of social networks through paid product placement and influencers. It’s not a totally new idea though, since Pinterest and Instagram are already on similar ground, so what would set Amazon Spark apart from the rest? That would have be their market strength that’s been cultivated over the years by the e-commerce giant, which now allows it to streamline the whole process, and makes it so users can make purchases without even leaving the social network.
This section of the app which let users do two actions at once – like looking at photos and buying something faster than they can say “that’s nice, I want it!” – is the perfect fusion of online shopping and social media. Let’s say it’s kind of like going to a pizzeria and then the cinema, versus binging Netflix while eating pizza on the couch in your sweats. It may or may not be your thing, but it definitely wins points for simplicity. And that’s why it’ll be a success.
Nothing created, nothing destroyed, everything for sale
At the moment, Amazon Spark is still in beta, but it will soon be available for all Prime subscribers in the US who have iOS devices. But those limits are only temporary until the service can be opened up to every country around the world. In the near future, users will even be able to earn money with their posts. That’s why Amazon Spark could be the next frontier in the world of product reviews: the user isn’t just personally invested, they can also massively tip the scales for the sale of certain items.
You could almost say that Amazon has begun selling everything, including its own users. Thanks to its strategic policies that are increasingly turning toward an inclusive social approach, Amazon feeds into a cycle where users buy a product they like, then post a photo, and this allows other users to buy it. They’re selling the experience, the ease, the simplicity, and the desire to emulate. This is stronger than reviews, and easier than external purchase links. These days everything’s for sale, and you can buy it all with just a few clicks.