Amazon Announces Spark, A Social Network For Shoppers

Amazon has forayed into social networking (sort of) with Spark, an app that allows members to showcase their products, talk about them, and eventually sell them. For now, Amazon Spark is open only to Prime members and has been launched only on iOS-based mobile devices.

Is it similar to Pinterest or Instagram?

Some of the biggest technology companies have been taking inspiration from popular apps. Facebook has openly copied Snapchat since the deal to buy the app faltered a few years ago. Later on, Facebook acquired Instagram and started feeding Snapchat-like features into it, which paid off. This time it is Amazon, and it’s trying to mimic Pinterest.

At first glance, Amazon Spark might look like competition for Pinterest, but since the actual format for the service is a feed-style interface, Instagram comes closer to it, notes TechCrunch.

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With the help of Amazon Spark, users will be able to exchange photos and videos in a way that’s similar to how they do it on other platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram.

“Amazon Spark is a place to discover things from people who share your interests,” the company said in a blog post. It makes it “easy for customers to discover – and shop – stories and ideas from a community that likes what they like.”

How Amazon Spark works

Initially, customers will have to mark at least five interests that they would like to follow. Customers can select from a wide variety of categories, such as Books, Technology, Style & Fashion, Home Décor, Fitness, Toys, Games, Music, Cats, Internet of Things, BBQ, TV Binge Watching, and so on. The selected choices will help Amazon create a useful feed of relevant content.

Once the setup is completed by entering a name and activating the notification (optional) for the update, the next display will be a heavy feed of product ideas and other stores, notes TechCrunch. Customers can thereafter shop in their feeds by clicking on product links or photos with a shopping bag icon.

Other new services from Amazon

Amazon’s new app comes just days after its Annual Prime Day, which reported record sales. During the annual Prime event, unit sales of the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot were three to seven times higher than they were on last year’s Prime Day. The event was also good for third-party sellers on Amazon, and according to reports, they sold 50% more items compared to last year’s event.

Amazon has been ramping up its product and service lineup lately. Just last month, the company launched Amazon Wardrobe, a new service that enables Prime members to try on clothing and accessories before buying them.

Yesterday, the company launched Amazon Pay Places, which allows customers to pay for in-store purchases and orders ahead of their shopping experiences. Customers will not have to carry cash, credit cards or checks to pay for any service; instead, they can use their Amazon account information to pay for all of it. As of now, TGI Friday is the only place where Pay Places can be used. At first, only customers in Baltimore, Washington D.C., Richmond, Va, Philadelphia, Boston and Wilkes-Barre, Penn. will be able to use the service.