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Snapchat Announces AR Commerce ‘ Catalog-Powered Shopping Lenses’ For Brands and Retailers

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Snap Inc., parent company to Snapchat, has rolled out Catalog-powered Shopping Lenses which it says is a significant upgrade to artificial reality shopping by making it simpler and more engaging for consumers. 

The company also says that its Lenses offering is easier to build, scale, and optimize. It’s a technology that can benefit retailers in Canada and beyond as innovations continue to be integrated into the consumer experience. Consumer preferences have been changing rapidly with new tech and the pandemic has only accelerated the adoption and growth of digital channels, and Snap appears to be addressing this.  

Snap’s new Catalog-powered Shopping Lenses provides for what the company describes is a simplified, more useful AR try-on shopping interface for Snapchatters. With that, users can quickly see product info such as prices, descriptions, and unique URLs to purchase with new Lens Product Cards as you try on products. 

As a result, important product information and SKU-specific purchase capability can be determined including real-time dynamically updated price and colour details. The platform provides Snapchatters with the required product information rapidly as they simply tap on the Lens Product Card to purchase each individual product.

Real-time results for brands is another benefit that includes instant feedback on which Snap’s Gen Z and Millennial audience is said to be drawn to. Snap says that this is good for research and development purposes and it also can help brands track consumer trends and product engagement by offering marketers immediate insights to help educate their research and development plans. 

Marketers can now leverage Snapchat’s AR try-on as an early indication on which products Snapchatters are engaging with, while utilizing these signals when ideating on targeting strategies and early-on decision making for product development. That can be done down to the SKU level according to Snap.

The real-time results feature also allows Snapchat to optimize delivery of a businesses’ Shopping Lens to the Snapchatters most likely to purchase each item. In combination with its newly released auction optimization towards purchases for AR Lenses, brands are seeing meaningful increases in purchases and efficiency through Snapchat. 

One example is Toronto-founded MAC Cosmetics which has seen 1.3 million try-on experiences at a cost of 0.31 cents per product trial and has secured 17 times higher lift in purchases among females, 2.4x higher lift in brand awareness and 9x higher lift in purchase intent. That no doubt led to an increase in sales and profitability at a remarkably low cost.

The new platform also expands on Snap’s simple Lens Web Builder which allows beauty brands to create Shopping Lenses in as fast as two minutes. At launch, the quick click accessibility in Lens Web Builder will be available to Beauty brands and will roll out to other product verticals in the coming months. Snap notes that all product brands can leverage catalog-powered Shopping Lenses with Lens Studio. 

“Augmented reality is changing the way we shop, play, and learn, and transforming how businesses tell their stories and sell their products,” said Jeremi Gorman, Chief Business Officer, Snap Inc. “Our revamped AR Shopping Lenses will mean a more engaging experience for our Snapchat community, and enable a faster, easier way to build Lenses for businesses — directly linking Lenses to existing product catalogs for real-time analytics and R&D about which products resonate with Gen Z and Millennial audiences.”

Snap has become hugely popular — over 200 million people are said to be engaging with AR on its platform daily across a variety of personal and often useful experiences that span commerce, entertainment, education, and the arts. 

Since 2020, Snap Inc. says that it has focused on AR shopping as a primary company initiative by offering brands real-time AR try-on experiences that reach millions of its ‘Snapchatters’. That ranges from trying on makeup to shoes, watches, glasses and other items with AR shopping being a key emerging part of how Snap’s community engages with its  app. Incredibly, Snapchatters are said to engage with AR more than 6 billion times per day globally.

Article Author

Craig Patterson
Craig Patterson
Located in Toronto, Craig is the Publisher & CEO of Retail Insider Media Ltd. He is also a retail analyst and consultant, Advisor at the University of Alberta School Centre for Cities and Communities in Edmonton, former lawyer and a public speaker. He has studied the Canadian retail landscape for over 25 years and he holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws Degrees.

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