Amazon going social: New Inspire app
With the increasing amount of visual content created by creators online, e-commerce platforms are beginning to access this potential by incorporating elements of social platforms into their marketplaces.
With 4.59 billion people or 57% of the world’s population, currently using social media, according to Statista, social commerce is a win-win when it comes to getting your brand in front of more people. And it’s no surprise that it is becoming increasingly attractive for businesses.
In 2021 alone, 64% of social media users made a purchase via social commerce (about 2 billion shoppers), according to Lengow analysis. By 2025, the share of e-commerce conducted via social commerce is expected to reach 17%. So, there has never been a better time to incorporate it into your business strategy and unlock the potential.
Various social networks, such as TikTok and Instagram, are increasing their efforts in the area of social commerce. Its key success factor is influencer marketing, which originated directly in social media. The influencers can use their status to earn commission by endorsing products in their videos and posts. This enables consumers to make purchases on the spot, i.e. on the social network on which they follow the influencer.
As influencer marketing continues to gain momentum, Amazon is trying to keep up. It recently launched Inspire, an app with a feed that mimics TikTok and Instagram by showcasing short videos and photos from influencers.
What is Amazon Inspire?
The new Amazon Inspire service, which can be found within the light bulb icon in the Amazon Shopping app, offers shoppers a choice from more than 20 interests that will then be used to tailor their feed. Shoppers will be able to buy products posted by other customers, brands and influencers.
Having long used static images and product descriptions to create a single catalogue, Amazon wants to make it easier for customers to find products in general, not just specific items. After all, most buyers do not spend much time on an online marketplace after making a purchase of a specific product.
Amazon wants shoppers to spend time in the Amazon app even when they don’t want to shop. It is trying to address a weakness of most shopping websites and apps – consumers only open them when they know they need something and not for casual browsing. The goal is to transform the typical transactional interactions customers have been having into more interactive, in-person-like experiences.
Amazon’s dedication to social commerce
In 2017 the retail giant took its first step into the world of social media by launching the social feature called Spark. Spark users could add a tag to their posts with products available on Amazon, and therefore make it easier to find and purchase them on the platform. Emojis were also available for users as reactions to posts.
Spark didn’t go the way Amazon had hoped, however, and fell off the map shortly after the launch. But the company wouldn’t be deterred and continued to experiment. Amazon’s next attempt at social commerce also launched in 2017, in the form of the influencer program, which commissions influencers to link the products they show and discuss in their posts to Amazon’s website.
Two years later, Amazon Live was launched, allowing users to watch and interact with influencers who demonstrate and sell products in real time. This offers shoppers the opportunity to try before they buy, by virtually experiencing products through demonstrations, stress tests, tutorials and test drives.
All the aforementioned efforts demonstrate Amazon’s broader commitment to making its platform more engaging and interactive for users. It also indicates that the company is looking to expand its reach and seize new opportunities for growth.
Competition with social media
One of the key challenges for Amazon is the strong competition from existing players such as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. These platforms have already created a significant user base and have built-in tools for product search, shopping and even checkout functions.
However, Amazon also has a number of advantages that can give it a competitive edge:
- 310M+ active users worldwide
- Highly developed delivery infrastructure
- AI & ML for customer experience improvement
How does Amazon Inspire work?
Currently, Inspire is available only for US customers and only when using the Amazon Shopping app.
After the user selects his or her favourite interests, their feed will be formed based on their selections. Users will not only be able to view content, but also create it to an extent. For example, they will be able to send a review about a product, which then will appear in Inspire.
For brands, an interesting draw is that content is shared in Inspire along with photos and videos posted by influencers. Suppliers and sellers registered in the Brand Registry with an active Brand Store can post photos in Amazon Posts, which will also appear in Inspire.
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