Amazon is taking a page from the playbooks of Instagram and Pinterest and rolling out Spark, a new feature that lets customers shop directly from images posted by other members of the web giant’s Prime membership program.
Spark, which is part of Amazon’s iPhone app, quietly launched on Tuesday after a couple of months in beta to build up the image base. The mega e-tailer describes it as a facilitator for its Prime community to “discover” new items and buy them.
While shoppable images aren’t new — Instagram rolled out a shopping feature in March, Pinterest has rapidly expanded the search ability of its images, and retailers have been offering their own shoppable social media feeds for years — Amazon appears to be the first big merchant to help customers shop for items on its platform through the photos from other customers.
Users can chat with one another on Spark to get “advice and feedback” on “products and experiences,” according to Amazon’s web site.
When a user first comes to Spark, they have to select five categories of interest and their feeds will be based on those categories, as well as their user history, stored in Amazon’s huge data cache.
An Amazon spokeswoman declined to comment on Spark.
But both the Prime program and fashion are areas of intense focus for the web giant.
Christine Beauchamp was tapped as president of the company’s fashion business in May. And last month, Amazon launched Prime Wardrobe, which will send shoppers up to five items to try on at home before buying.
And Amazon just logged its biggest Prime Day sale event, gaining tens of millions of new members while selling millions of its artificial intelligence-enable Echo Dot digital assistant.
The company noted that “tens of millions” of shoppers also made purchases during Prime Day through the Amazon app.
All of that means that Spark is starting off with an already huge audience, if they decide to snap and post.
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