An Apologetic Digital Marketer

🔗 Instagram just took advantage of Amazon’s biggest weakness

Amazon facilitates a very different type of commerce and very, very well: It quickly gives you exactly what you want when you go to the site knowing exactly what you want. It’s utility shopping. A recent study from Feedvisor found that 74 percent of online shoppers in the US go straight to Amazon when they are ready to buy a specific product.
 
But Amazon has repeatedly failed at becoming a destination for discovery shopping — or the kind of shopping common in physical retail where you might uncover something you didn’t need but now covet. That type of shopping is one that many Americans still consider a form of entertainment, and one that still makes up a large chunk of total commerce transactions in the country today.
 
While the opportunity for Instagram is large, so is the risk. For years, Instagram executives have resisted adding purchasing functionality, in part to avoid being too “in your face” about the commercialization of an app that became hugely popular for noncommercial reasons. Now they have changed course and are moving past one form of commercialization (ads) to add another (commerce). Will that turn off some Instagram users?

You don't read 'Amazon' and 'failed' in the same sentence very often, but this is a very valid point.  Instagram - and Pinterest for that matter - still have a strong advantage on product discovery.

Can Amazon up their game?  I think it will be hard because it is contrary to their very nature.

Amazon is Amazon because they have made shopping efficient.  This was accomplished mostly by removing all of the marketing fluff.  But if you product has a strong brand - reasons it is okay for the product to not be the cheapest - Amazon doesn't have a channel to communicate that information.  That makes leisurely browsing and product discovery much less fun.

Lest we forget, many buyers enjoy buying into a brand.  They like the unboxing of their new Apple product or tuning their new Sonos speakers.  The experience has a value and Amazon has consciously chosen not to relay that experience.