South Asian Insider
Amazon Kills Spark, Its Answer to Pinterest and Instagram
Two years ago, Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) launched Spark, a social shopping app aimed at challenging Facebook's (NASDAQ: FB) Instagram and Pinterest (NYSE: PINS) in the social shopping space. Spark mimicked Instagram's feed of single photos and required new users to select at least five interests to display personalized recommendations like Pinterest.
However, Spark never caught on, and Amazon recently killed off the website and app. Amazon now redirects visitors to its new #FoundItOnAmazon site -- which resembles Interesting Finds, the Pinterest-like board it launched in 2016.
Amazon will reportedly continue operating Interesting Finds and #FoundItOnAmazon separately, with the former focusing on a wide range of items and the latter displaying fashion products and home decor. Let's look at why Spark failed -- and whether or not Amazon is getting left behind in the "social shopping" market.
Why did Amazon pull the plug?
Amazon couldn't leverage its massive e-commerce presence to expand into the social networking market because it was already split between market leaders in 2017. Social network users stuck to the platforms that their friends and family used, so very few people were willing to give Spark a try.
TechCrunch claims that only about 10,000 Amazon users tried Spark in its first 24 hours, and those numbers probably didn't improve significantly throughout the app's short life. Amazon also shot itself in the foot by restricting posts and comments to Prime members. Non-Prime members could only passively browse the feed.Earlier this year, Amazon customer engagement chief Chee Chew, Spark's biggest backer, resigned to work for Twilio. Chew's departure likely convinced the company to abandon Spark and remove its integrated features from Amazon's core app. Amazon also likely realized that Spark didn't stand a chance against Instagram and Pinterest in the social shopping space. Instagram, which has over a billion monthly active users (MAUs) launched shoppable posts, a dedicated shopping channel, and in-app checkouts over the past year. Facebook also started testing out live shopping videos on Live.
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