Amazon launched two significant new products this week.

Amazon Spark

This Tuesday, Amazon publicly launched Amazon Spark, a social media platform built into the Amazon mobile app. Spark allows users to share photos in an Instagram-style feed, and tag the products featured in the photos. Clicking on a tagged product will direct the user to the product page, making purchasing simple. Spark asks each new user to identify a handful of interests and shows only posts that will be relevant and interesting. The posts found on Amazon Spark are most commonly lifestyle photos but can include other content including polls and product listing images.

Spark feeds currently consist of Prime users, influencers (who use #sponsored to indicate a paid promotion), and brands promoting their own products. While users have the option to follow other users, feeds are currently based on selected interests rather than friends.

Amazon Pay Places

Amazon announced Pay Places this week, a feature within the Amazon mobile app that allows users to pay in-store or order ahead with their Amazon information. The first business to partner with Amazon Pay Places is TGI Fridays. When available, users will be able to browse the TGI Fridays menu and place an order from their smartphone. More partners are expected to be announced soon.

Pay Places appears to be an extension of Amazon Pay, an e-commerce payment solution, which Amazon is currently recruiting both merchants and Amazon users to join. Amazon claims Amazon Pay helps merchants “build loyalty, maintain close customer relationships and benefit from years of Amazon innovation.” These values will be extended to brick-and-mortar businesses through Pay Places.

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