Will Amazon Spark fizzle or fly? What the new social network means for you

Whether Amazon likes it or not, its new social media network Spark has quickly become known as the app that’s ‘like Instagram, but you can buy stuff’.

Launched in July, Amazon Spark has ignited a rush of interest from industry players and early adopters.

But what does it mean for you and your business? Here’s what you need to know about this emerging platform, particularly as Spark plans to land on Australia’s shores sometime this year.

Amazon Spark in a nutshell

The ‘Instagram-where-you-can-buy-stuff’ description isn’t too far off the mark.

Spark is a scrollable vertical feed with images and captions, and each snap offers a product (or several products) for purchase. Naturally, these are all items you’ll find on Amazon. A small shopping bag on the screen will indicate the number of items in the image that you can purchase.

If you're an Amazon Prime member, you can add your own images just asyou would on any other social platform. 

Here’s an example: imagine a photo that features a couple of friends catching up over coffee. Perhaps you like the look of her watch, or his jacket. Tap on these items, and if the a Prime member (or 'enthusiast') has added them as purchasable products, you’ll be able to buy them from Amazon within the Spark app.

You won’t just have any old products popping up in your feed, either. When you sign up, you’ll be asked to select a minimum of five interests that will be used to create a content feed of products that may interest you. You can also follow other users and search by keyword to find products that may not be featured on your feed at the start.

Will it fizzle or fly?

There are already some clever features popping up throughout the app that could make for a better chance of success. For example, feeds are linked to inventory, so you should never come across a product on your feed that is currently out of stock.

That said, there are downsides. Shopping on Amazon features comprehensive reviews on many of its products, which are usually a mix of good and bad. It’s these bad reviews that can sometimes be the most helpful – but it’s unlikely enthusiasts will share products they find lacking.

There’s no doubt that despite its similarities with apps like Instagram and Pinterest, Amazon Spark does seem to have nabbed the niche of a clean and easy app where you can make a quick purchase.

Without much in the way of competition, and a massive existing brand name and audience, there aren’t too many reasons why Amazon Spark won’t gain traction over the coming months and years. While it may not be set to join giants like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, we expect Spark will become more of a talking point in the future.

What Spark means for Australian businesses

Amazon is headed to Australian shores in 2018, and has already locked in its first warehouse just outside of Melbourne. However, there’s no indication when (or if) Spark will be coming along for the ride.

There’s no doubt that Amazon will be changing up the retail market here in Australia. Both online retailers and brick-and-mortar shops will likely feel the impact, as Amazon brings variety and convenience to online shopping that is in many ways lacking here in Australia.

However, it’s no reason to panic. For many businesses, Amazon simply represents an opportunity to feature your own products on a bigger platform with a larger audience.

If Spark does come to Australia along with the arrival of Amazon, this could make the option of partnering with the retailer in some way even more appealing. If you’re curious about Spark (and have access to a US-based Amazon Prime account), you can explore it now.

Just follow these simple steps to get set up:

  1. Download the Amazon app
  2. Open the menu and choose ‘programs and features’
  3. Select Amazon Spark and ‘Get Started’
  4. Choose five or more interests, then ‘Next’
  5. Create your profile
  6. Start exploring

More marketing advice

View all articles