Amazon has launched its social network, and it has prospects.

It seems that Jeff Bezos does not sleep at all. His company has new crazy ideas every week. Then she claims a patent for giant "hives" for drones in cities, then she begins to design flying airships for the delivery of goods. And the other day the store launched a new social network Spark - something like a hybrid of Pinterest and Instagram. Amazon accounts for 55% of all purchases through us in America, so we are closely following the development of this company. In our opinion, the Amazon social network will not only become financially successful, it is a symptom and a catalyst for a new trend.

If you are actively sitting on Facebook and Instagram, you might notice how these social networks are gradually starting to turn into a store. They do everything for companies to sell and advertise products through their platform. But Spark is one of the cases of the reverse process, when the store wants to turn into a social network.

Of course, new social networks every year grows up like mushrooms after rain. This is a go-to startup for those who want to change the world or quickly make a billion by selling to Zuckerberg. And 99.99% of them, of course, have no chance. Even Nimses, a unique social network with virtual currency, which received huge media support, was blown away only a month and a half after launch.

But here we are talking about Jeff Bezos, the new richest man in the world, and about Amazon, an IT corporation that, according to Scott Galloway of New York University, will soon overtake Apple and Microsoft, and will be the first to cost more than $ 1 trillion. Even the most delusional ideas of such a company deserve attention. But Spark is actually quite an interesting idea ...

How Amazon Spark Works

The social network is focused primarily on online store customers. Users can publish photos, their own descriptions and ideas related to certain products and goods. Subscribers comment on posts and post likes. And most importantly - see what products are depicted in the photographs. And immediately, in one click, buy them, if something very much.

All social networks are now going in this direction. Facebook in its "Pages" opens two new sections, "Shopping" and "Services." He wants to give businesses new buttons, including Call Now, Contact Us and Send Message, to make it easier for them to communicate with customers. Facebook and Instagram allow users to add information about the products shown in the photo. Even Odnoklassniki this month launched an ad with active call-to-action buttons - and integrated with the Mail.Ru Yula service, a free ad service offering products in close proximity.

Amazon went this way even further, and openly stated: yes, we are doing a social network for buyers, and our main task is to push users to new purchases. We want to make sure that they themselves give recommendations to each other, share photos of beautiful / useful products.

First, the new user Spark indicates from 5 categories of interest to him. These can be “Books”, “Technology”, “Fashion and Style”, “Interior Design”, “Toys”, “Video Games”, “Fitness”, “Barbecue” - and dozens of others. Based on this information, Amazon provides the client with a feed with relevant content — photos uploaded by other users. The interface in the mobile application is very, very reminiscent of Instagram, almost a complete copy.

You can subscribe to those who make useful and informative posts. You can leave comments or press a button with a smile (similar to a heart / like). The main difference from other social networks is that if you tap on a photo, you can immediately buy any product depicted on it. On the one hand, it’s clear what Amazon wants to achieve. Buy, buy, buy! Things and consumer society in all its glory. On the other hand - in fact, it turns out very interesting. Typically, the store buyer chooses his clothes or backpack, focusing on the standard photo from the manufacturer. Licked on a white background. According to him, it is not very clear how all this will look in real life. And so people see what happened to their virtual "friends" to which they are subscribed. And they can make a more informed decision.

TechCrunch believes that Spark is a very tricky add-on above the standard “reviews” system. On the one hand, people are more interested in looking at real photos, they trust them more. And on the other hand, according to TechCrunch, in the atmosphere of a social network, it is more difficult to tell that you “goof off” and bought a thing that you don’t like very much. So if now on Amazon there are different opinions under each product in the comments, then on Spark they will talk about products mostly in a positive way. Brilliant, damn it.

The new format makes the user profile very important. If you have many subscribers, you are a valuable person for companies that want to promote their products, especially on the platform where they can be directly bought. Advertising posts with the hashtag #sponsored already began to appear on Spark. If you have a talent to talk about things - here it is, a possible future career.

To get started with the social network, you need to use the Amazon mobile app . Any users can read the feed, but the ability to post posts and comments is available only to subscribers of Amazon Prime. About what this program is and how you can subscribe to it for free, we told you in detail here .

Is there potential?

The idea of ​​a social network - not so stupid. For three years already, iTao has been working on the basis of Chinese Aliexpress for its design, which remotely resembles Pinterest, only with the obligatory reference to the goods at the end of the post (which is its meaning). Users with 10 + k subscribers there have long received goods for free, then to promote them. If you look at the posts, there are no negative reviews as a class. And even if it appears, users do not zaykayut it. No one likes to look at a photo of "so-so skirts" or a mediocre gadget. That is, in the East, the idea of ​​Spark has already justified itself.

And on the Western market, the “social network for shopping” was recently tested by Instagram for the first time. In 2016, the company opened testing for 20 brands in order to simplify sales for them. Products are marked on the photo just like people. The user can click on them, view their price, read the description, and then go to the retailer’s website to buy the item for themselves. A month ago, at the end of June, Instagram and Nike announced that they would start selling new sneakers directly in the ribbon to counter the wave of the new Chinese counterfeit. Nike is the most successful commercial brand on Instagram, and it’s logical that it will be a pioneer here. Mark Parker, head of Nike, even says that this is their priority over offline and online stores.

Amazon Spark has obvious advantages over Instagram in sales. The social network is integrated into the Amazon store, these are two parts of one ecosystem. If you need to click on a pop-up ad tag to purchase on Instagram, and then go to a third-party Nike website to complete the purchase, Spark does everything within one application. No need to go anywhere, no need to open additional programs, and even the surrounding interface does not change. Yes, Instagram has several orders of magnitude more users, and this is unlikely to change, but Amazon also has its trump cards up its sleeve. Pure victory, like Facebook has over MySpace, should not be here.

American Amazon visits 150 million customers every month. Amazon Prime subscribers are 80 million. The growth in their number is 40% by 2016 (for comparison, Facebook has grown by 18%). Amazon Prime service is paid for, they pay $ 10.99 a month for it, or $ 99 a year, while 55% of American households are connected to it. For some Prime subscriptions, the firm earns $ 8 billion a year. For comparison, the popular cable network HBO, on which the “Game of Thrones” is released, receives one and a half times less subscribers a year, $ 5 billion from subscribers.

Amazon has long understood that the more loyal a user is, the more money he gives you, and the less he looks towards competitors. Instead of, as in Russia, asking for a search on Yandex.Market — and buying where they saw cheaper, every second American family simply goes to Amazon, and then searches for something inside the store. This is actually a monopoly, but it has advantages. Then you do not have to deal with different delivery services, with an unfamiliar interface, with problems when returning the goods. Well, the most profitable offers and the fastest delivery are available only to Prime subscribers , and Amazon does not forget to remind you of this. You want - you do not want, and in due course you will sign up.

The strategy works: seeing that prices are lower, and delivery has become faster, customers are even more attached to the store. According to CIRP, Prime’s average subscriber spends $ 1,300 a year on Amazon — almost two times more than a regular user ($ 700).

Following Amazon, other online retailers in the United States are also trying hard to introduce their big loyalty programs. Bonuses for frequent purchases, for large orders, for having a card ... Discounts, gifts, special holidays for customers (similar to Prime Day in July). And even the Prime subscription system is copied, calling it with its name (Canvas, Gray Card, etc.). Now Amazon wants to bring this to a new level. A person actively tied to the Spark social network will spend much more. At least that's the idea.

If Spark gets about as many users as Prime, it will be about the 20th social network in the world. Not very impressive. But the point is that people buy more and do not look anywhere except your store. They are directly involved in sales, and each content they create is free advertising. In addition, Amazon has a huge catalog of 400 million products. It can be difficult for customers to find new products - those whose existence they themselves do not suspect. An analyst from Jefferies remarked that "If you do not drive something into the search box, you don’t have it either." Recommendations through Spark will fix this problem.

If the Amazon experiment proves successful, it, like all of the company's other initiatives, will eventually be picked up by other American retailers, from Walmart and Sears to Staples and eBay. Is this not the dream of every store: so that customers entertain themselves by talking about your products?

PS Becoming an Amazon Prime user for a month is free. We recently wrote a detailed overview of what is needed for this, and how this service is beneficial. Well, if you need to order something from Amazon to Russia - you can do it with the help of It is enough to register and enter the GEEKTIMES promotional code to get $ 7 to your account for the delivery of any goods from the USA.


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