Using stickers to decorate your photos is a common feature found in social apps like Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and others. But today, stickers have started showing up in a more surprising place: Amazon’s mobile app. Following a recent update, Amazon has added support for stickers within its iOS app’s camera feed – the feature that allows you to search for products on its site by viewing real-world objects through your phone’s camera.
This is an odd, but interesting move by the company, which has been upgrading its flagship mobile application to offer more than just traditional shopping in recent months.
For example, Amazon integrated its virtual assistant Alexa into its app this March, allowing consumers to play music while they shop, ask questions, check the news and weather, control their smart home, and more. It also launched “Outfit Compare” in its shopping app around the same time – ahead of the launch of its Echo Look smart device, whose own companion app offers the same “fashion advice” feature.
Stickers integration, however, makes less sense.
While meant as another means of encouraging product discovery, it’s not clear how Amazon intends this feature to be used.
Amazon, after all, is not a social app – it’s a retailer. And the camera feature it offers is meant to be an alternative way of kicking off a product search, not a tool to take personal photos to share with friends. Today, in addition to scanning a barcode or typing in a search term, Amazon’s app can also identify objects through the camera, then suggest related products, similar to Pinterest and Google’s visual search products.
To use Amazon’s new stickers, you’ll still launch the camera as usual by tapping the camera icon next to the search box on the Amazon app’s home screen.
You’ll then see a new “Amazon Stickers” button on the bottom left of the screen, next to the camera app’s other features like Package X-Ray (scanning an Amazon package’s barcode to see what’s inside), uploading a photo, or viewing your search history.
The stickers themselves are organized into various categories, like “Top Picks,” “Fun,” “Home,” “Pets,” “Women’s,” “Gadgets,” and more. There are also curated collections like “Gold,” “Legos,” “Wood,” “Workspace,” and others.
If these stickers or those categories look familiar, it’s because they’re being pulled from Amazon’s “Interesting Finds” online shop. Launched last year, “Interesting Finds” offers a curated product discovery experience on Amazon, similar to the shopping service from the startup Canopy. Advertised today via a homepage banner, “Interesting Finds” is sort of like Amazon’s Pinterest – it gives you a way to browse the site to find fun items you might like, follow collections, and save items to your favorites.
The stickers mirror the styles used by “Interesting Finds,” and link to the same recommended products.
With the camera feed live, you can browse through the categories and tap to add stickers to the scene in front of you. Because there’s no selfie camera support, you can’t really virtually try on clothing with the feature, but you could perhaps use stickers to see how a home décor product would look in your room.
But the style of the stickers themselves – with their cartoonish, white jagged edges – doesn’t make this AR-like functionality all that practical in terms of visualizing your potential redecorations. (At least, not compared with more serious attempts at AR for shopping like Wayfair’s “View in Room” feature, for example.)
In addition, you can tap on the “i” (information) button on the stickers themselves to be taken to the product detail page.
You can also add multiple stickers to a single photo, resize them, delete them, then save the resulting image to your Camera Roll or share to social networks.
Chris Messina first spotted the stickers in the app yesterday, following the iOS update. But it appears that the feature was being trialed earlier this month, according to tweets from what appears to be an Amazon test account.
Amazon has yet to respond to requests for comment about the launch.
Currently, we’re seeing Amazon Stickers on iOS only, not Android.