Snap Ecommerce Augmented Reality

Snapchat's product boss Peter Sellis on marrying e-commerce and AR after that Nike triumph


By Rebecca Stewart, Trends Editor

March 20, 2018 | 4 min read

Snap wants to fine-tune its native e-commerce offering in 2018, with its global director of product management Peter Sellis telling The Drum there’s potential to marry its unique AR capabilities with the ability to shop in-app.

nike air jordan tinker sneaker

Snap's first-of-a-kind Nike partnership highlighted Snapchat’s potential for hosting unique commerce experiences / Nike

Snapchat flexed its commerce muscle earlier this month when it partnered with Nike for a special pre-release of its Air Jordan III Tinker. Attendees of Nike’s post-NBA All Star game party were able scan exclusive Snap codes to open the app and purchase the shoes in minutes within its walls; the sneakers sold out in 23 minutes.

“E-commerce is something we’ve tread carefully in to. The Nike activation was very experiential and in the moment, it was very Snapchat,” Sellis said. “With stuff like that we’re just trying to learn what our users do with it – like do they understand, and are they willing to put their credit card details into Snap and things like that.”

The first-of-a-kind partnership highlighted Snapchat’s potential for hosting unique commerce experiences going forward; something that could set it apart in the ongoing arms race between itself and platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.

When asked whether there is room for Snap to pair in-app shopping with some of its AR formats for advertisers like World Lenses or Trial Lenses – which essentially let customers 'try before they buy' – Sellis said this assumption was "totally correct".

Noting the early tests on Trial Lenses, such as the launch campaign with BMW, were more about view-through-attritbution (VTA) and what customers did on BMW's website after seeing the ad, Sellis said over time Snap wanted to add "as many direct connections as possible," and that this could even include a "shop the look" type of format.

The ability to merge Snap's killer AR feature (the company claims 70% of its 187 million users play with Lenses each month) with a simple shopping solution has massive potential for the self-styled camera company.

However, the product boss suggested Snap has work to do to prove its worth as an e-commerce buy for brands.

Sellis continued: “Behind the scenes, it’s much less sexy but it’s much more necessary. The things we need to think about are allowing our advertisers to attribute conversions back to us so we can learn via our pixel, as well as offering them audience creation off of that pixel so they can market to people who are adding things to their shopping cart and browsing certain categories."

As well as allowing advertisers to optimise against this, Sellis said that Snapchat is also working on making its in-app web browser – which ultimately allows users to view shoppable content – more functional and seamless for advertisers.

Snap has been trying to carve out its place in the marketing mix more heavily since its IPO last year. Since then it has added a suite of new tools but also faced struggles in the form of questions around the verification processes of its self-serve ad tools and ongoing product competition from Instagram.

Yesterday, eMarketer predicted that Snap was set to post strong UK revenues in 2018, breaking through the £100m barrier for the first time.

The Drum’s exclusive interview with Sellis from Advertising Week Europe will be published in full next week.

Snap Ecommerce Augmented Reality

More from Snap

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +