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Amazon’s Latest Innovation Is on Loan from TikTok

Amazon’s Latest Innovation Is on Loan from TikTok

Written by enCOMPASS Agency

Social platforms have long depended on advertising dollars to monetize their services. Social commerce has changed that, providing some additional revenue streams and sparking new innovations in how products are bought and sold online.

Now, the world’s biggest e-commerce platform, Amazon.com, is borrowing some of those innovations, specifically taking a page from the TikTok playbook. Specifically, a new Amazon feature called Inspire provides a new way for consumers to browse for products…and theoretically, a new chance for them to make discoveries and ultimately purchases. Inspire is pretty directly inspired by TikTok, which is just further proof of how the video-based platform is reshaping the digital landscape in its own image.

What is Amazon Inspire?

If you haven’t actually seen Amazon Inspire, a quick overview is in order.

Inspire is essentially just a feed for images and short-form videos, with the stated purpose of helping consumers find new products and ideas. The “discovery” component of Amazon Inspire is fueled by product placement in viral videos, including videos from major brands and online influencers, but also from other, everyday shoppers.

To try Inspire for yourself, simply log into your Amazon shopping app and look for the Inspire icon, which is placed pretty prominently. The first time you’ll log in, you’ll be asked to select up to 20 product categories that align with your interests. This is how Inspire customizes the feed to address the user’s specific needs and interests. So, for instance, you’ll be able to signify that you’re interested in products and content related to travel, pet care, and so forth.

Once you get past this initial setup, the feed will continue to refine and customize itself over time, responding to the purchases you make on Amazon but also your likes and other interactions on the platform.

The content you’ll see on Inspire includes a combination of Instagram-style images and TikTok-style videos. We think the interface feels very similar to TikTok, right down to the mechanism to swipe up in order to see more videos. Additionally, engagement buttons are positioned off to the side, just as they are on TikTok. Meanwhile, the ability to double-click a video or image to “like” it will remind many users of Instagram.

From Amazon’s point of view, the most important part of the entire platform is probably that panel of engagement buttons, which take you to product listings and allow you to complete purchases. We’re impressed by the UX work here, especially the overlay that provides you with some basic product details, with an option to show more.

The Future of Social Commerce

Indeed, this new Amazon feature clearly exists just to provide a frictionless shopping experience, making it easy for users to stumble across products via a curated feed, and then to make a purchase directly, without the need to do a search for what the product is or where it can be obtained.

But while Inspire is obviously a useful tool for Amazon, it may also provide online shoppers with something truly valuable. Think about it: If you see a product that interests you, you can immediately gain more information and even make a purchase, all without having to leave the app. And, since it all happens via your Amazon account, you don’t have to worry about setting up new payment channels, creating a new profile, or inputting any further personal data.

Amazon is smart to borrow a few tricks from TikTok, but the question is, will other platforms borrow from Amazon? That remains to be seen. Remember that e-commerce is what Amazon does best, so they had the built-in infrastructure to support an endeavor like Inspire. Other platforms won’t have nearly the kind of e-commerce expertise that Amazon boasts.

Another question: Will Inspire actually be a lasting success? On the one hand, some users may find the commerce-driven content to be a little bit too contrived or inauthentic. Then again, most Instagram users seem to have accepted that platform’s social commerce leanings without issue, so perhaps there is a market primed (no pun intended) for what Amazon’s now offering.

Keeping an Eye on Online Shopping

It remains to be seen just how much Inspire changes the way people shop…and, the way retailers and advertisers pursue their digital strategy. With that said, any new social commerce rollout from a company of Amazon’s stature is very likely to be impactful. We’ll certainly be keeping an eye on Inspire as it’s rolled out to more and more users across the world.

We’ll also keep you in the loop regarding this and any other big changes to the digital landscape. Keep our blog bookmarked, and if you have any specific questions or concerns, feel free to contact the enCOMPASS team directly. We’re always happy to chat!