Do you remember the "stories" trends that took place over the last years? Well, we're observing a similar thing with scrollable feeds of short videos.
TikTok launched worldwide in 2017 and started a tremendous growth end of 2018. From there, other platforms followed.
Big players like Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts. Smaller players like Vidjet, with our Shoppable Flows feature.
And yes, all of us are cutting the line and copying someone else’s product, thinking it will result in money.
So, what is Amazon Inspire?
It's another swippable video feed, with a strong shopping approach. Amazon tries to entice customers to make purchases when they are seeing products, tagged in short videos. It's entertaining, and meet halfway between social selling and live shopping.
While YouTube has recently implemented affiliate marketing and shopping to its Shorts, TikTok has long been working on its own in-app retail services, including livestreams, and other video shopping experiences.
As TechCrunch mentions, "The feature is designed to draw consumers’ attention away from apps like TikTok, where brands can directly market to consumers. The goal is clear: to drive sales on Amazon.com instead of other mediums."
Open the Amazon Shopping app, tap the "light bulb" icon on the bottom navigation bar, select your favorite interests and then you’re ready to start scrolling
Now, what will their success rely on?
I put together key elements that could have a high impact Amazon Inspire's adoption. I ended up with a non-exhaustive list of five of them. This is my humble opinion, based on my experience in video-shopping. And, I'm more than happy to hear your feedback.
Quality of videos
Creating engaging and entertaining videos in not easy. If I'm not mistaken, it is one of the reasons TikTok pays some content creators. That's also what led them to buy Musically, in November 2017.
So, how will Amazon attract top creators to produce content for its Inspire product?
As The Verge reports, "The company has also been recruiting influencers [...], to produce videos for the feed, along with selections from brands and regular customers, as it looks to tap into social shopping."
I'm not sure how they do recruit them, but a good incentive could be through their affiliate program. We all know Amazon is good at that, and they'll probably leverage it.
Quantity of videos
Is quantity more important than quality? Always the same question. And, only algorithm top-engineers can answer. In Amazon Inspire’s case, it’s a matter of making sure they propose enough videos per vertical.
While it’s not complicated in cosmetics, this is something more challenging in other industries. Car retailers, for example, face a challenge when creating video content: redundancy.
So, creating engaging content at scale becomes complicated. Unless you get access to exclusive products, like Supercarblondie, you're likely to generate fatigue to your audience.
I made this image to back up my point, and give visibility on more industries.
I found ecommerce fascinating for the variety of use cases. There's always a room for innovation. Yet, finding a new shopping format or medium doesn't mean there is a use case for it.
Product discovery, customer reviews, product tutorials, upsell and crossell… These are use cases having a direct impact on CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization). Each one of them should suit a category of products, a type of visitors, and take into account other variables associated to merchants' goals. Use cases aren't generic, and there are no one-size-fits-all options.
If Amazon Inspire understands the former variables to propose merchants adapted use case, it can be gamer changer. On the flip side, if there is no guidance on use cases, merchants can get lost, and never turn active on the product.
When creating new shopping experiences (or any kind of content on a website/app), you want to make sure not to disrupt too much the customer journey.
In Amazon Inspire's case, the entry point is the app. Amazon mentions "open the Amazon Shopping app, tap the "light bulb" icon on the bottom navigation bar, select your favorite interests and then you’re ready to start scrolling".
Will customers naturally open this video-shopping experience? Will Amazon have to push it more? To what extent can it boost sales, without affecting the current customer journey?
In my humble opinion, at some point Amazon will push this feature to users, if the adoption rate is not good enough.
The right way to do it is to segment customers. Examples: they can consider that customers with a clear intent don't need to be inspired. On the other side, customers that are just browsing are a perfect target to loop into a feed of short videos.
The job of this algorithm is to show the right content, to the right viewers, at the right time of their journey. Algorithms' recommendations are based on a number of factors, including user interactions, such as the videos you like or share, accounts you follow, comments you post, content you create, etc.
In Amazon Inspire's case, will they only use interests their customers must choose? Or, will they include other elements like accounts data (ex : past purchases), video information, sounds, country, language, and device types?
On their website, they mention: "We take into account many preferences that are unique to you so no two feeds are the same. For example, the interests you choose when first opening Inspire and the content that you like in the feed."
Curious to see how they iterate!
Nowadays, people use social media for purposes other than looking for shopping inspiration. They seek to relate to people, engage with creators, learn new stuff, get entertained, laugh. There's a clear shift to videos in people's consumption.
Will it justify the success of Amazon Inspire? Or, will TikTok be faster in developing a supply chain infrastructure, and take the lead on the video-shopping industry?