Amazon adds a shoppable "Spark" to Prime

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The app within an app is aimed at improving product discovery. Using this information, the platform creates a feed of personalized content - including images, text and links to polls - from other Amazon customers with similar interests.

First-time users of the feature are asked to register with their names and provide a list of at least five interests to follow. And in every "smile" on an Amazon Spark post, we'll be reminded of a Facebook "like".

Posts are organized into categories like "books", "humor", and "camping"-most of which match Amazon's product classification-and users can filter what they see according to their interests". TGI Fridays is among the first stores to adopt the feature, reports TechCrunch, which adds more in-store applications are on the way.

Shoppable images in Amazon Spark and Instagram. Each post has the user's circular profile photo at the top, some with "verified" check marks next to their names, a short caption atop the photo, and tags at the bottom. "Customers shop their feed by tapping on product links or photos with the shopping bag icon".

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The feed seems to be Amazon's latest stab at bolstering a problem that's never been the company's strong suit: "discoverability."f That's the industry's jargon-y way of saying that when a company aims to be a so-called "everything store", it can be hard for customers to simply browse the virtual aisles or find products they didn't know they were looking for among a sometimes overwhelming sea of options".

"Various photographers and travel influencers popular on social networks such as Instagram have also posted to Spark with a "#sponsored" disclosure in recent days, many tagging high-end photography equipment for sale. For instance, Amazon past year partnered with luxury clothing merchant Moda Operandi, allowing in-store customers to pay for clothes they previously selected online using their Amazon account information. "It's like Pinterest, Instagram, and my credit card had a baby and it's handsome". Once tapped, bubbles with tagged product names and prices pop up over the image.

This is likely to be big in fashion, if someone posts their holiday snap with a shoulder bag that you love then you won't have to search in order to buy one for yourself.

Amazon's new move into social media is as much about selling products as it is about sharing.