Snapchat Launches Shoppable AR

Over the past year, Snapchat has made tremendous strides to open up its platform to third-party developers and creators. They’ve opened up Lens Studio, to drastically bring down the cost of creating AR filters and lenses and launched the Official Creator Program, to partner and support quality creators. These changes have also meant that the barrier to entry for brands has drastically decreased. What used to be a six figure investment, can now be done for much much less.

The next logical step was to reduce the friction between discovery and purchase, and that’s exactly what they came out with today. Their new feature is called Shoppable AR, and it’s only the start of what will become a massive trend. Brands can now add a button to a lens or filter, that takes them to a website where they can learn more or simply buy the product. All of this happens inside the app.

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A few major brands like Adidas, Candy Crush and Clairol will be the first to test out the feature, but expect more to follow suit. Augmented Reality allows users to get a better sense of what a product looks like in their surroundings and how they can interact with it – further closing the gap between the physical and digital world. By consolidating the discovery and purchase phase of a consumer decision journey, Snap hopes to be a one stop show for brands and consumers alike.

Implications

With Facebook taking hit after hit around privacy issues over the last few weeks, and the general public starting to become more knowledgeable around the issue, it’s a perfect time for an ephemeral messaging service like Snap to make a big push. While Snap certainly acts off of third party data to target users, there seems to be more trust with users on the platform.

It will be interesting to see how marketers leverage this new feature in their social strategies. Brands will likely leverage the platform for more new product launches, event promotions, and sales. AR is a great way to show product features and benefits, vs simply telling – doing so will increase consideration among consumes. The ability to then track those conversions and see an actual ROI is what makes this new feature so attractive for advertisers.

Just as we’ve seen in the past, look for Instagram to respond by one upping their in-app commerce capabilities in the coming weeks.

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