Amazon Launches User-Generated Shopping Social Feed Called Spark

Have you ever wanted to see a picture of an online product taken by an actual customer that bought and uses it? Or maybe you just want to satiate that unending need to scroll through limitless pictures of french presses, rice cookers and discounted golf clubs. Either way, Amazon’s got you covered.

Today Amazon announced the launch of a new Prime-only service, Spark. The new feature is aimed at improving product discovery and will attempt to convince potential customers to stay on the site just a bit longer and maybe pull the trigger on an online purchase they may not have typically gone through with. Non-Prime members can still scroll through the feed, but they cannot post or comment.

Amazon is essentially taking a page from Instagram and Pinterest by creating a custom feed based on your interests. Firstly, you must be an Amazon Prime customer. Then you download the mobile Amazon app (Spark is not on desktops yet) and designate at least five interests or categories. After this, you will be presented with a feed of pictures and stories, all potentially selling a product through Amazon. Some are obvious, like a picture of someone BBQing with a link to a new BBQ, while some are more artistic, like a woman on top of a mountain staring off into the distance, prompting you to purchase hiking backpacks. If there is a highlighted product in the picture or video and Amazon sells it, you will have a link to go right there and purchase.

The idea here is to take the discussion and media sharing around purchased Amazon products away from other social media feeds and localize them to Amazon’s Spark. Now when you use Spark, you can get inspired then point and click to turn that inspiration into a reality that arrives at your door in three to five business days.

Spark will function as another arm of the current Amazon review system, meaning that it may not be all five star reviewed products while scrolling through your feed. On top of this, some standards involving how products are captured and displayed may need to come into effect: potential sellers will not want customers taking awful one megapixel photos of their thousand dollar products and using that as a customer’s first impression.

Spark will begin to rollout more features as Prime users begin to upload content and customize profiles. For example, beginning July 30, users will be able to share previously posted product reviews to their Spark feed.

Ample warning now to all impulse Amazon shoppers—if you’ve ever woken up and realized you impulsively spent $400 on a kayak and don’t remember it, Spark might not be the best thing for you to scroll through while out on the town.