2022 has been a very busy year for marketing professionals – we had a lot of updates and features being released on pretty much every social media platform. And we have one more update to take a closer look at, this time breaking the social network bubble.
The news came from Amazon. After announcing plans earlier this year to start investing in social commerce, the company has officially launched Inspire, a content hub with short-form videos and photos, where customers will be able to discover, explore and shop for products in a different format than we are used to seeing in Amazon’s marketplace.
And it’s not the first time Amazon has used a social media model to inspire its shoppers. The retailer has already offered features similar to Pinterest, Instagram and even a YouTube knockoff, Amazon Live.
But, why does the world’s largest e-commerce company decide to take this another step to enter the disputed social network universe? And, more importantly, does this make sense to 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 are talking about a TikTok-like shopping feed, in which brands and creators will be able to bet on new content formats to inspire (terrible joke, I know) their audience.
To jump into Inspire, you’ll need to open the Amazon Shopping app and tap Inspire’s icon. And before starting to navigate into it, every user will be asked about what they want to see, and will have 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, why would users be interested in another TikTok, if we already have one, right? Amazon must have thought of that too, and has brought a very great ally to the table: practicality. Unlike TikTok, Inspire, from Amazon, has built a complete buyer journey in-app.
When the customer is interested in a product, they just need to press a button at the bottom of the window, and they’ll be directed to the Amazon link – where they can buy it, see more details or put it on their “Wishlist”. And, boom, Inspire has converted a sale, just like that.
Personally, I can’t wait to start testing this new feature and have my first impressions, but we’ll need to wait a little longer. The company started to roll out the feature to selected users in the United States, and only then it will become available to everyone. For now, we’ll stay tuned for possible release dates.
But does short-form video really make sense for Amazon?
For those who like to be up-to-date with trends, more and more we are seeing short-form videos taking over all over the place. Instagram, for example, is prioritizing short-form videos with Reels, YouTube has launched YouTube Shorts, and Twitter is also enabling video content for its users.
Not to mention, of course, TikTok – the pioneer in this format and source of inspiration for these (and many other) examples, including the most recent Amazon feature.
So, if you are wondering if this new social commerce approach makes sense to Amazon, the answer is: yes. Short-form videos are here to stay, at least for now, and Google’s recent data confirms that nearly 40% of Gen Z already prefer to search on TikTok and Instagram over Google Search.
That said, I’m not really surprised by Amazon’s decision to invest in this universe, since it’s the language its customers are increasingly speaking. According to Amazon’s Director of Shopping, Oliver Messenger, “video-based content really helps [customers] to understand the product more”.
But, will Inspire be capable of competing with Instagram and TikTok? It’s clear that the feature aims to draw customers’ attention away from these other apps, but will it be enough? For this question, I’m not sure if the answer is still yes.
Inspire offers a complete buyer journey, which is great, but it only promotes products. TikTok’s users, in addition to shopping, seek to engage with creators and learn new things. Not to mention, users are continuously aiming for real content instead of the “built to sell” ones. So, it remains to be seen whether Inspire will deliver on that goal.
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