As everyone knows, especially in the world of retail, Amazon is becoming the almighty king of shopping experiences. The largest electronic commerce and cloud computing company is slowly creeping its way into our everyday lives with its promise of 2-day shipping on must-have items, its dash buttons which restock your essentials with, well, the push of a button, and its all-knowing personal assistant Alexa. And have you tried Amazon Fresh? As a busy mom of 3, yes, I bought into the convenience of placing an order on Sunday night to have it arrive on my door step first thing Monday morning. Weekends are busy and there aren’t enough hours to shop for those vital camp snacks.
Just when you thought Amazon had topped itself, along comes Amazon Spark, a platform where users are encouraged to post shoppable photos. Amazon Prime members can post a photo, tap it to tag a product, and either link it to a product you have recently purchased or search for that item on Amazon.
Every day users are asked to follow at least 5 interests to find people who share the same passions. Like-minded consumers who have posted shoppable photos will show up in your feed. You are also able to connect with those people on their posts with a comment to get advice and feedback like you would on any social platform. The only requirement to join is a paid Prime membership. Prime members who post regularly are called “Enthusiasts” and can earn a badge that is featured on their profile page.
So, I signed up as a user to check it out. One of the first posts to pop up was one of Jeff Bezos himself:
Someone had posted a picture of him with 5 items you could buy to match his look. For some reason though, given his recent upgrade in status to World’s Richest Man, I have a hard time believing he is wearing Hanes Men’s Short Sleeve Jerseys.
Here is a post I made:
As you can see, my 4-year-old loves Angry Mama and painted a picture of her.
What did I get out of this? Perhaps a place to discover new products through a community of people who share the same interests. It will be interesting, once Amazon Spark moves out of Beta status, to see what the benefits for the everyday user might be, how it evolves as a social platform, and how brands learn to use it for monetization.
The Future of Amazon Spark
Amazon Spark is also currently testing out a Beta invite-only Influencer platform that gives social media influencers an Amazon.com vanity URL to make commissions on sales of products they promote.
As someone with a background in influencer marketing, I became intrigued by the creation of another social platform for highly-influential folks that lives solely on a retail platform. For years I’ve followed the evolution of shopping on social platforms. From clunky apps on Facebook that could be embedded into a status update, to the smoother Shopify with a Shop Now option on Instagram, it’s just another way to be able to prove out ROI in an otherwise tough-to-track marketing realm.
So Amazon plans to mimic the popularity of these photo sharing platforms with its own platform, that tracks and increases sales on…its own platform? How bold!
From the Amazon’s Influencer Program details page:
The Amazon Influencer Program is exclusively designed for social media influencers with large followings and a high frequency of posts with shoppable content. An intuitive vanity URL makes it easy for customers to find, browse and buy the products introduced to them through social media influencers. The program allows influencers to earn fees for purchases they drive through their social media platforms.
So how does this work? Amazon Spark is accepting influencers based on their followers, engagement, quality of posts, and relevancy to Amazon. Currently, Amazon is only accepting influencers with very large followings for their own Amazon store.
For the time being, brands cannot create a Spark profile, it’s only for paying Prime members, but they can certainly work through accepted influencers to post shoppable content with the proper #sponsored disclosure.
Any influencers out there in the Spark Beta program? We’d love to hear about your experience!