2022 is going to be a very busy year for marketing professionals – we've released a lot of updates and features on almost every social media platform. We have one more update to take a closer look at, this time bursting the social networking bubble.
The news comes from Amazon. After announcing plans to start investing in social commerce earlier this year , the company officially launched Inspire , a content hub of short videos and photos where customers can discover, explore and buy products in different formats than we're used to See it on Amazon's marketplace.
This isn't the first time Amazon has used the social media model to pique the interest of its shoppers. The retailer already offers features similar to Pinterest , Instagram and even its YouTube knockoff, Amazon Live .
But why did the world's largest e-commerce company decide to go one step further into the controversial social networking space? And, more importantly, does this make sense for its customers? Well, we asked ourselves these questions too, and we'll try to answer them in this article.
How will Inspire work?
Basically, we're talking about a TikTok-like shopping feed, where brands and creators will be able to bet on new content formats to excite (a terrible joke, I know) their audiences.
To access Inspire, you need to open the Amazon shopping app and tap on the Inspire icon. Before navigating, each user is asked what they want to see, and there are more than 20 interest options to choose from, including makeup, skin care, interior design, and more. The app will use these answers to create a personalized feed. Again, very similar to TikTok's initial setup.
But if we already have TikTok, why would users be interested in another TikTok, right? Amazon must have thought of this, too, and brought with it a very good ally: practicality. Unlike TikTok, Inspire from Amazon builds the entire buyer journey within the app.
When customers are interested in a product, they simply press a button at the bottom of the window and they are directed to a link to Amazon – where they can buy it, view more details or put it in their "wish list" ’. And, boom, Inspire has translated into sales, just like that.
Personally, I can't wait to start testing this new feature and get my first impressions, but we'll have to wait a little longer. The company is starting to roll out the feature to some users in the US before it becomes available to everyone. For now, we'll keep our eyes peeled for possible release dates.
But does short video really make sense for Amazon?
For those who like to keep up with the latest trends, we are seeing more and more short videos trending. For example, Instagram is prioritizing short videos with Reels , YouTube has launched YouTube Shorts , and Twitter is also offering video content to its users .
Of course, that’s not to mention TikTok — the pioneer of the format and the inspiration for these (and many other) examples, including a recent Amazon feature.
So, if you're wondering if this new approach to social commerce makes sense for Amazon, the answer is: yes. Short-form video is here to stay , at least for now, with recent data from Google confirming that nearly 40% of Gen Zers already prefer to search on TikTok and Instagram over Google.
That said, I'm not surprised by Amazon's decision to invest in this space, as its customers increasingly speak the language. According to Oliver Messenger, Director of Amazon Shopping, “Video-based content really helps [customers] learn more about products”.
But can Inspire compete with Instagram and TikTok? It's clear that the feature is designed to take customers' attention away from these other apps, but is that enough? I'm not sure if the answer is still yes to this question.
Inspire offers the complete buyer journey, which is great, but it only promotes products. In addition to shopping, TikTok's users seek to interact with creators and learn new things. Not to mention, users are always looking for authentic content , not "built to sell" content. So it remains to be seen whether the Inspire can pull this off.
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