Amazon is bringing a TikTok-like shopping experience to its app. It's a new source of short videos and photos that lets consumers explore products and ideas, and shop from content created by influencers, brands, and other customers. The feature is designed to take consumers' attention away from apps like TikTok, where brands can market directly to consumers to drive sales on Amazon.com.
The retailer said the shopping feature will initially roll out to select customers in the U.S. in early December 2022 and will be broadly available to U.S. customers in the coming months.
At the time, Amazon was caught experimenting with a TikTok-like shopping feed in its app , which then had its own navigation buttons at the bottom of the Amazon mobile app. The advanced location in the main navigation remains the same in the now released version; however, the Inspir feed can now be accessed by tapping the light bulb icon instead of the diamond icon seen in testing.
Image credit: Amazon
To start using Inspire, customers will open the Amazon shopping app and tap on the Inspire icon. On first launch, they're prompted to personalize their Inspire feed by choosing from more than 20 interests, including makeup, skincare, pets, gaming, plants, hiking, interior design, travel, running, and more.
While Inspire focuses on short-form video content, it also offers support for photos, making it a hybrid of TikTok and Instagram. Like Instagram, you can double-tap anywhere on the screen to "Like" a content with a red heart. However, you can scroll through the Inspire experience just like you would with TikTok's vertical video feed, where you swipe up from the bottom to see the next video. Like TikTok, the Engage button is located on the right side of the screen.
Image credit: Amazon
When you see something you like, you can click the little button at the bottom of the window to link to the product on Amazon. Originally, clicking these buttons would pop up the product in an overlay on top of the video, but clicking "see all details" will take you to the item's product page where you can read more, make a purchase, or add it to a list.
Over time, Amazon says the feed will better customize itself as Inspire learns more about users' interests by tracking their engagement and likes. Longer term, the retailer plans to add more shoppable features to Inspire, as well as additional in-app features and content to further improve the product.
Image credit: Amazon
"We invent every day to make shopping fun and easy," Oliver Messenger, Amazon's director of shopping, said in a statement about the launch. "Inspire is our new shopping experience that connects Amazon customers with other customers, the latest influencers and shoppable content created by a wide range of brands. With just a few taps, customers can discover new products or get inspired to buy, all These are tailored to their interests and then buy those items on Amazon,” Messenger said.
The company has lined up a number of Amazon influencers to post on Inspire, including Mae Badiyan , Practical Pursia and others. Creators will be able to earn money from customers' purchases through the Amazon Influencer Program .
"My audience wants engaging videos that introduce them to new products, which is why I'm excited to use Inspire to highlight my favorite everyday essentials and have the convenience of instantly buying them on Amazon," Badiyan noted.
Additionally, Amazon says brands can post to Inspire, including vendors and sellers who are registered in the Brand Registry and have an active brand store.
Amazon has long employed the popular form of social media to engage shoppers and inspire purchases. It first tested the idea in other variants in previous years, including Amazon Collections in 2013 and Amazon Stream in 2015 , before offering a Pinterest-like feature called Interesting Finds . In later years, it hosted an Instagram clone project called Amazon Spark , but it finally ended that project in 2019 after just a few years . A key Spark stakeholder, Chee Chew , Amazon's vice president of consumer engagement, also left in early 2019.
Elsewhere on the site, Amazon has taken inspiration from Amazon Live's live shopping , and has even tried to emulate YouTube at one point, where anyone can upload a video.
Unfortunately, most of Amazon's presence on social media has been rather lackluster, as the content is only there to sell products. At the same time, people browse social networking sites for more than just the idea of buying something. They want to interact with creators, learn new things, laugh and be entertained. Despite the move to video, it's unclear whether the Inspire will be able to deliver on these factors.
Amazon Inspire is currently only available in the Amazon mobile app on iOS and Android, and initially only to select customers.
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