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Amazon is Hungry for Social Media Conversions, MealKit Fans

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Having a vast selection of product is a plus, except when it’s not.

Amazon may have everything but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to find anything. The retailer is looking to make product discovery easier—and more in line with what today’s consumer is used to.

Enter Amazon Spark, a photo-centric stream that’s accessible via the company’s mobile app (on iPhones only). Instagram users will instantly find the format familiar though it has one big bonus: the images are shoppable. Photos range from stark product images to atmospheric, lifestyle shots. If a shopper sees something he likes, he just needs to click on the shopping bag icon on the screen to be directed to the product page.

Through Spark, users (or “Enthusiasts,” as the retailer refers to them) can make reviews and upload images. But these privileges are limited to Amazon Prime members.

Spark joins the retailer’s other efforts to make discovery easier, including Interesting Finds, a curated selection of gift ideas; My Mix, which provides personalized shopping suggestions; and the Amazon Influencer Program, which handpicks influencers with large social followings to create product pages with assortments their fans will like.

Spark’s integration of social and shopping should have some other apps nervous, because if it takes off, Amazon could have its own standalone social network.

It’s just one more arena the mega online merchant is threatening—this week. The meal kit business is wilting a bit on the news that Amazon has trademarked a name for a service similar to BlueApron and HelloFresh.

The Sunday Times reports the company has protected the phrase “We do the prep. You be the chef.” BlueApron stock tanked on the news Monday. And yesterday brought the first look at the kits, which are already on sale in the U.S., according to Business Insider.

This is just the latest blow to the grocery sector, which is still reeling from the news that Amazon plans to purchase Whole Foods.

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