Amazon will increase the size of its US workforce by 55 per cent in the next 18 months

Amazon attempts move into social networking with Spark

Image credit: Reuters

This week Amazon.com Inc launched Spark, a new image-based social network focused on e-commerce. This allows some Amazon Prime subscribers to share, identify and buy products on Amazon.

Spark is based around a “shopping feed”, similar in appearance to Instagram and Pinterest. Users are encouraged to post photos and videos, in which they can tag products available on Amazon. Users browsing their feeds can easily find and purchase these products.

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

“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.”

Spark has similarities with Pinterest, whose users begin by selecting interests; a personalised feed of ideas is generated based on these. Users can “shop [their] feed” by tapping on product links, or photos with a shopping bag icon.

Spark will offer “smiles”, similar to Facebook’s “likes”, and users will be able to comment on posts.

Amazon will be paying publishers and so-called social media “influencers” to create sponsored posts on the network. These posts will be marked with a “sponsored” hashtag. In March 2017, Instagram launched a shopping initiative, allowing businesses to advertise on the app by posting “shoppable photos” featuring their products.

“Whether you’re looking for inspiration for home décor or seeking advice for the best long-distance running shoes, Spark makes it easy to discover – and shop – stories and ideas from a community that likes what you like,” Amazon wrote in an introduction to the service.

The social network is available within the Amazon App for iOS users. All users can browse the network, although only Amazon Prime subscribers who have made a minimum number of purchases can create profiles.

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