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Amazon’s TikTok-style feed a smart move but poses challenges, say e-commerce experts

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Amazon.com Inc.’s launch of a TikTok-style feed of customized videos and photos is an innovative way to tap into a major trend, but is not without challenges, according to e-commerce experts.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the feature, called Inspire, was launched Thursday for select customers, with Amazon
AMZN,
-0.70%
 planning to make it available across the U.S. over the coming months. The portal appears as a lightbulb at the bottom of the app, which, when clicked, takes the user to content geared to their interests.

“It’s a smart move from Amazon given that TikTok has solidified the role of inspiring video content in the consumer journey,” said Rob Jewell, chief growth officer at tech-enabled growth marketing firm Power Digital, via email. Citing data from Power Digital’s technology, Jewell says that, in industries like fashion and beauty, TikTok drives as much as six times higher sales conversion rates with this type of content, compared with other paid social channels. “If Amazon gets this right, they could see a similar lift in their e-commerce platform, too,” he added.

But Jewell warned that it may not be easy for Amazon. “The most difficult part of any social app is getting hundreds of millions of users to consume their feed every day,” he said. “While Amazon has the advantage of having easy commerce built in, the most difficult part of Inspire will be training its users to actually consume the content regularly.”

Also read: Amazon launches TikTok-style video and photo feed

Raghav Sharma, co-founder at Perfitly, which describes itself an interactive online fitting room for clothes shoppers, agrees that Inspire is a great opportunity for the tech giant. “Amazon’s move to create a TikTok-style shopping environment is an attempt to harness what is arguably the buzziest of social commerce experiences,” he said, in an emailed statement. “However, one of the biggest questions will be if Amazon can get content creators and consumers engaged in what will be a relatively narrow, focused experience vs. TikTok’s broad, random, surprising ‘you never know what you’re going to see’ environment.”

Kristin Naragon, vice president of global marketing and strategy at Akeneo, which specializes in product information and product experience management, says that it makes sense for Amazon to innovate in this way.

“It’s no surprise that companies like Amazon are innovating around product experiences—brands should be used to the fact that the only thing that is constant from a ‘channel’ perspective is change,” Naragon said, via email. “Which means that the only way to be ready for new Product Experience (PX) formats, is to have your product activation strategy ready and nimble by having modern product information management in place.”

Amazon shares, which ended Thursday’s session up 2.1%, were down 0.7% on Friday. The S&P 500 index
SPX,
+0.34%
was up 0.3%.

The rise of TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance Inc., has prompted companies such as Amazon, Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc.
META,
+1.56%
and Alphabet Inc.’s 
GOOGL,
+0.36%
 
GOOG,
+0.46%
Google to ramp up their short-form video efforts.

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TikTok is developing a system to score creators on their ability to sell goods and attract viewers, according to documents recently seen by MarketWatch.

Credit: marketwatch.com

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