Amazon’s second leap into the social space, Posts, is more measured than Spark (Amazon’s now-deceased Instagram clone), but it’s still a long way from stealing the show. Details of the beta test were published earlier this month, calling it a “new browse and discovery experience on Amazon focused on brand-shopping.”
Amazon Posts, Amazon.com
In short, Posts are seen as a carousel of social-like-media at the bottom of a product listing (on mobile view or in the official Amazon app), which “enables you to publish the brand and product-focused content you’re already sharing on social media with shoppers on Amazon.” Think Instagram and Pinterest walking into a bar on Halloween dressed as Amazon Prime.
Instagram is where the cool kids hang, Amazon is where they spend money
With nearly half the world’s population using social media and 95% of all purchases expected to be facilitated by e-commerce by 2040, social media and e-commerce need to switch from frenemies to allies. Or one will inevitably kill the other.
While social media and e-commerce are slowly but surely merging, there’s plenty of opportunity in the remaining gap. And with Posts, it appears that Amazon is trying to harness the cultural influence that social media wields over people for personal gain. Which is very, very difficult to ask from a platform that has no provenance in this regard.
Where Posts will be displayed, Amazon.com
Over the last decade, major social platforms have infiltrated the way people view and experience the world by accelerating the way people share social information.
Amazon has earned its place in people’s lives by offering a retail experience that hinges on virtually unlimited selection, price, and convenience. The question of how social content will perform in this environment is something Amazon has to ask — and shoppers will ultimately answer.
As powerful as the retail giant may be, Amazon cannot build a social platform, shoehorn a Buy Now button onto it, and expect people to love it (and I doubt they will).
It’s 2019, the linear path to purchase is dead, and our phones are the smoking gun. The eventual winner between Amazon and social is a long way from decided, and a lot will change between now and 2040.
What’s clear at this moment is that people are more comfortable shopping online — cross-referencing prices, reviews, and competing products — than ever before. And both social media and Amazon are major inflection points that bring these elements together in a way that feels natural to most shoppers.