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Why Amazon Spark Misses the Mark on Customer Experience

Amazon recently introduced Amazon Spark, a social community centered around product discovery and purchase, with people who share similar interests. Influenced by Instagram and Pinterest, this officially marks Amazon’s entry into the world of social content marketing. Amazon wants to make it easy for consumers to shop products that often involve a considered buying process, say for example in home décor or outdoor sporting equipment and then share about their experiences in a way that excites and inspires other customers.

The problem is Amazon wins at efficiency, but that doesn’t delight customers.

Inspirational content marketing and product education, especially around a considered purchase, isn’t Amazon’s forté. Amazon delivers products fast and on time; product discovery and returns are easy, but no one gets a warm and fuzzy feeling when they checkout on Amazon. We’re not posting pics of our latest purchase that miraculously arrived in two days. There’s a lack of connection with another human being, and because of that, we don’t truly feel helped.

Which is why we always come back to that in-store, Independent, specialty retailers experience. They excel in a market that values superior service, customer experience, and local community involvement — especially for considered purchases. Local commerce matters in a complex buying decision with high financial and emotional risk (and reward!) for the consumer. A considered purchase process requires meaningful investigation and comparison — both online and in-person via physical interaction with an in-store product expert — before making a decision and completing a transaction. And that’s the experience we share on and offline. It’s what inspires.

Spark may offer a new venue for social engagement around products, but Amazon users don’t really struggle with product discovery. Plus, products purchased through Amazon aren’t typically the most glamourous or shareable enough to immediately share with friends via social media.

When customer experience is the great differentiator, consumers look to their local, independent retailers to offer personal, feel-good service in the special type of purchase process that involves a more significant emotional and financial risk. There is a genuine happiness and sense of accomplishment that comes with selecting the perfect long-distance running sneakers, or a brand new power washer to help you clean up your kid’s latest mess, or even the spotless new flooring option to kick off your home renovation product.

These experiences are only created and felt through the connection with your local, specialty retailer. And *that* is what motivates us to share product content on Yelp, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or whatever comes next!

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