Snapchat Wants Its New Lenses To Spark Virtual Shopping Sprees

Snapchat’s investments in ecommerce-flavored augmented reality are starting to roll out to users, beginning with a set of shoppable Lenses.

Launching today, Shopping Lenses will let users virtually demo products from two makeup brands: Ulta Beauty and MAC Cosmetics. Both brands have been beta-testing the Lenses with Snapchat over the past few months.

Like Snapchat’s other Lenses, the shoppable ones employ augmented reality to place digital objects in meatspace. In this case, the Lenses will display things like lipsticks and eyeshadows on users’ faces in real time, so they can get an idea of what specific shades will look like IRL.

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Shopping Lenses will allow users to swipe between multiple products, and will display products’ prices, available colors and/or sizes, and recommendations for similar items from the same retailer, Snapchat said.

For now, users can only try products from Ulta and MAC, but Snapchat said that in the coming months, it’ll be adding more brands, and also noted that it wants Shopping Lenses to span products across categories other than cosmetics, including clothing, accessories, and footwear.

Snapchat is also rolling out an ecommerce AR update on the brand side.

Per TechCrunch, it’s now offering as-it-happens data and analytics to brands that use Shopping Lenses, because the Lenses are linked directly to companies’ product catalogs and thus can show exactly how much engagement products are getting, and how much sale volume the Lenses are driving.

These analytics were also part of Snapchat’s Shopping Lens beta test. According to the platform, the Lenses drove $6 million total in sales for Ulta, and during one two-week test period, Ulta saw 30 million unique product try-ons. MAC, meanwhile, saw 1.3 million try-ons (timeframe not specified) and said it experienced a 17x raise in purchases among women.

Snapchat is not the first to experiment with these kinds of ecommerce features. YouTube debuted something similar back in 2019, working with artificial intelligence tech from parent company Google to introduce ads where users could virtually try on lipsticks from brands like Estée Lauder. But while YouTube was early to the punch, it doesn’t seem to have expanded its digital demo efforts; instead, it’s shifted focus to other ecommerce options, like shoppable livestreams (which, to be fair, are potentially on the cusp of becoming a major thing in the States).

It’s doubtful Snapchat will similarly move on, especially considering it spent a cool $500 million to acquire AR firm WaveOptics not too long ago.

Published by
James Hale
Tags: snapchat

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