As Amazon reveals Amazon Spark, here's what you need to know about the new 'Instagram rival'
Amazon has just unveiled Amazon Spark, a new feature on the company’s app that promises to rival Instagram and Pinterest. How does it work? Here’s what you need to know.
How does Amazon Spark work?
Amazon Spark mashes online shopping with the picture-feed format of Instagram and Pinterest. Users can create their own profile by selecting five or more things they’re interested in from a list that includes fashion, beauty, books, tech, movies, TV and music. Once they’ve created this profile, they can get access to feeds for each interest. Naturally, each picture in these feeds contains products they can shop by clicking on a little shopping bag in the bottom corner.
How do Amazon Spark users contribute?
At the moment you have to be a member of Amazon Prime if you want to respond to other users or posts, as you would on Instagram. If you’re not a Prime member you can create feeds but not interact with other users. Amazon Spark contributors are known as ‘Enthusiasts’ and have a badge on their profile, a little like Trip Advisor. Instead of the Instagram ‘like’, Amazon Spark encourages you to ‘smile’ at posts you approve of (yes, slightly cringe).
Who is Amazon Spark available to so far?
At the moment, it’s only available on iOS to users living in the America. Also, as mentioned above, you have to be an Amazon Prime member to get much out of it, so it’s certainly not an open network (yet).
Does it really rival Instagram?
Amazon Spark’s big sell is that users can shop every picture, but in the last year Instagram has also begun introducing its own ‘shop now’ functions, first testing this late last year with 20 big US-based brands, including Michael Kors, J.Crew, Coach and Shopbop. Having just arrived in the US – with no word yet of a UK launch date – it’s too early to say whether users will embrace Amazon Spark as a more retail-friendly version of Instagram, or balk at its openly commercial format (probably the case for those of us who predominantly use Instagram to look at funny memes or family pics). Either way, it’s likely that Instagram’s owner Facebook will have plenty of ideas of their own in the works to combat this new rival.