Amazon Spark was a platform that allowed Prime members to upload photos, stories, or ideas of products they bought through Amazon. Users could interact based on common interests and could comment and use “smiles” which were Amazon’s version of the “like” button.
Spark launched with a feed that had products and content picked based on interests that the user pre-selected when registering for the service. The service seemed to try and mimic other platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest.
While the mix of e-commerce and social media features is successful in the Chinese market, it’s still a new idea for the English-speaking world. Spark was tackling an ambitious opportunity, but Amazon didn’t seem to commit hard enough to make it work, and it failed to gain enough traction.
Consumers were generally confused about the app. It was hidden inside the Amazon app, rather than having an app of its own. It had a confusing UI, and the content feed was not connected to the product pages (i.e. when you look at a product on Amazon, you don’t see Spark posts related to that product). This meant that discovering Spark in the first place was a challenge, which is a big problem for a social media platform that relies on virility. This problem was exacerbated by the fact that Spark was accessible only to Prime users.
Amazon Sparks’s promotional strategy may have been a contributing factor to its failure. Amazon focused more on influencers to market Spark which is understandable, as they are a big part of marketing in modern times. However, Amazon neglected the brands that sell products on Amazon and did not include them in the strategy. If they had allowed brands to engage with potential customers through the platform, they could have a lot more relevant and interesting content.