Months after it debuted a shoppable in-app push with Nike, Snapchat has announced plans to marry augmented reality with e-commerce inside its walls.
Snapchat users in the UK and US will be able to buy products via a new solution the messaging and camera app is dubbing 'Shoppable AR'.
The technology works by letting advertisers add a 'button' onto any AR lenses they are running on Snap. This button has the ability to complete a number of actions, including directing users to retailers' online stores or apps where they can purchase the products, all in a click.
Adidas, beauty giant Coty and gaming company King are among the first advertisers to make use of the capability along with STX Entertainment.
Adidas is running an AR selfie lens to promote its new Deerupt running shoe, which directs users to its website. Coty brand Clairol is letting users try its new hair colour in AR before pointing them towards its site for purchase.
Snapchat's decision to pair its unique AR lenses option – which it claims 70 million people play with each day – with in-app shopping follows on from a successful campaign with Nike earlier this year. After an NBA All Star game party, Snapchat invited users to scan exclusive Snap codes (QR-style links) to open the app and purchase the shoes in minutes within its walls; the sneakers sold out in 23 minutes.
Speaking to The Drum less than a month ago, Snap's global director of product management Peter Sellis hinted there was potential to bring AR and e-commerce closer together within the app, but said it was still early days.
“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.”
Snap's lenses have proven popular with advertisers, with the likes of Netflix investing its its immersive World Lens format, which can be activated via the rear camera on smartphones to 'transport' users to different settings.
In planting its stake in the ground when it comes to commerce, Snap will also be looking to fight off competition from longtime rival Instagram, which only recently revealed its own in-app shopping function.
Speaking on today's announcement, Sellis said the new e-commerce capabilities would give brands a different way to leverage Snapchat's scale among the 13 to 34-year-old demographic. He also said they would help "drive real and measurable ROI" for advertisers, whether that’s through sales, downloads, lead gen, or video views.
Chris Murphy, Adidas' head of digital experience, said he believed the move from Snap would give brands the chance to "seamlessly drive" consumers to commerce.
"This is exactly the type of innovative move we were looking for and our new Deerupt product was a perfect fit," he said. "We no longer live in a world where it has to be either brand or commerce – consumers don’t think that way and neither should we."