Amazon Introduces New Shopping Social Network

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Amazon.com Inc has launched a social feature called Spark, an Instagram-style shoppable feed that appears inside the Amazon app that allows members to showcase and purchase products on its platforms, marking the retail giant’s first clear move into the world of social media.

Amazon’s “Spark”

Spark encourages users to share stories, ideas, photos and videos of products they love, which others can react to with comments and “smiles”- Amazon’s own version of Loke or Favorite button, just like popular social media platforms Instagram and Pinterest.

The new feature publicly launched on Tuesday for use on mobile devices that use Apple’s iOS operating system.

The experience is similar to scrolling through your Instagram feed, except in this case everything is set up so you can click on an image and buy the items in it.

The retailer has been quietly testing Amazon Spark in beta for a few months before today’s launch to consumers in the U.S. The goal with the new program is to shift some of the social activities around products taking place off-site back to Amazon, where product inspiration can translate directly into purchases with a click of a button.

It’s only available to Prime members, who pay $99 a year for free shipping, streaming videos and other perks. An Android version is planned.

“We created Spark to allow customers to discover – and shop – stories and ideas from a community that likes what they like,” said an Amazon spokeswoman.

“When customers first visit Spark, they select at least five interests they’d like to follow and we’ll create a feed of relevant content contributed by others. Customers shop their feed by tapping on product links or photos with the shopping bag icon.”

Amazon has also invited publishers, including paid influencers and bloggers to post on Spark. Their posts are identified with a sponsored hashtag.

Amazon Stock Performance

Shares of Amazon were up 1.45% on Wednesday session, to $1,026.87. It opened at $1,025.00, with a session high of $1,031.59 and a session low of $1,022.50. The stock currently has a market capitalization of $497.82 billion, with a price earnings ratio of 192.40.

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