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Amazon looks to Inspire shoppers to spend more

The news: Amazon is taking a cue from TikTok for its latest in-app shopping update: a customized, shoppable content feed, per The Wall Street Journal.

  • The feature, dubbed “Inspire,” will showcase a continuous feed of photos and videos of products that shoppers can buy via the etailer’s app. Over time, product recommendations will be tailored to users’ interests and preferences, while viewers will also be able to like and view content from influencers and other consumers.
  • Inspire is currently available to select US consumers, and will be rolled out across the US over the next few months.

The rationale: As sales growth slows from its pandemic heights, Amazon is betting that Inspire will encourage shoppers to spend more time (and money) on its channels, much as Douyin has been able to do in China.

However, there is a crucial difference. Douyin and TikTok were entertainment platforms first that then turned strong levels of user engagement into a sales vehicle. Amazon, on the other hand, is a shopping platform first—meaning that people visit its site because they have a specific purchase in mind, not because they’re in the mood to scroll through a never-ending series of product videos.

The big takeaway: In order to become a true challenger to Meta or TikTok, Amazon would have to convince consumers to change their behavior and use the retailer as they would Pinterest or Instagram, as a more socially-oriented avenue for product and trend discovery.

  • While that may be a long shot, Inspire could benefit Amazon’s growing ad business as another place for merchants to advertise.
  • Still, Amazon would be better off devoting its resources to improving the customer experience over social commerce features that are unlikely to drive significant revenue growth.

This article originally appeared in Insider Intelligence's Retail & Ecommerce Briefing—a daily recap of top stories reshaping the retail industry. Subscribe to have more hard-hitting takeaways delivered to your inbox daily.