snapchat shopping

Snapchat social commerce: get started with AR shopping

By Cristina Ferrandez

With almost four billion people using social media globally, it’s no surprise that companies around the world are looking to capitalise on Snapchat social commerce. Snapchat is at the centre of this growing movement, offering a range of advertising options. From Story Ads and Snap Ads that showcase product collections to Dynamic Ads that allow businesses to personalise ad creation and Shoppable Shows featuring a “swipe up to purchase” option, there is no shortage of Snapchat social commerce options for brands to choose from. Snapchat will also soon debut “Screenshop” to its marketing roster, a new feature that will help viewers identify the clothes users are wearing and direct them to ecommerce stores where they can buy them. 

However, one of the areas Snapchat is really looking to shine in is augmented reality (AR) shopping. While the platform faces fierce competition from Instagram and TikTok in this sphere, Snapchat has moved to further extend its offering of unique social ecommerce components. In an effort to position itself as the best platform for brands looking to make the most out of shoppable AR experiences, Snapchat is investing heavily in AR — and will continue to do so in 2021 and beyond. 

We already covered the different kinds of Lenses you can create on Snapchat. Here’s everything brands need to know about tapping into Snapchat social commerce.

How to sell products with AR on Snapchat

Advertising is the bread and butter of Snapchat, contributing to more than 99% of its income. With such a large revenue stream, Snapchat is going all out to create unique ecommerce experiences that stand head and shoulders above its competitors. 

Below we describe two ways brands can use AR to sell on Snapchat today, along with examples for each method.

1. Regular Snapchat Lenses with CTAs

Poplar Studio created a Snapchat Lens for NYX’s Haunted Dollhouse campaign (Source)

A fully integrated AR feature on Snapchat, Lenses enable any brand to create an AR effect and upload it for users to try out at no cost. For example, with a try-on Snapchat Lens, users can see what they would look like in makeup or a wide variety of accessories, giving them an informed idea of whether or not they should make the purchase. Lenses are paired with a CTA that links the user directly to the brand’s website.

One creative use of the Snapchat Lens feature comes from the makeup brand NYX. In 2020, Poplar Studio collaborated with the cosmetics brand to create a lens that built customer awareness of their Halloween-inspired product line. We launched a virtual 3D haunted house inhabited by five doll characters — each of whom featured a unique makeup look created by the famous makeup artist Mimi Choi. Users could explore the house and, in doing so, unlock the AR makeup look sported by each doll. Along with seeing the makeup on their faces through the lens, users were treated with unusual extras for each doll. For example, one effect enabled flowers to sprout from users’ heads, whereas another caused the user’s button eye to fall out upon blinking. 

Another well-known brand to recently use Snapchat’s Lens feature is IKEA. In March 2021, IKEA launched a virtual escape room with a very specific theme. People on Snapchat could use their phones to view an AR version of a cluttered, messy room, prompting them to browse and utilise IKEA’s furniture selection as tools to “furnish your way to (virtual) freedom.” 

2. Snapchat Shoppables

Gucci's Snapchat social commerce experience
Gucci used Snapchat’s Shoppable filter to let users try on their shoes from the comfort of their own homes (Source)

Snapchat’s Shoppable AR ads are another kind of lens that allows users to buy products directly within Snapchat. Brands across the fashion spectrum are adopting this rapidly burgeoning technology as a virtual dressing room solution that perfectly fits the meteoric rise of ecommerce.

Gucci was among the first to pioneer the Shoppable AR feature in the summer of 2020 by offering four different shoes for users to try on. Every pair had an associated “Shop Now” button enabling users that liked the footwear to add it to their collection in real life.

Hoka One One similarly debuted its Shoppables feature last summer to provide back-to-school shoppers with virtual access to its range of athletic shoes. One of the most successful lines of Deckers Brands, Hoka One One is tapping into both the demand for athleisure and AR experiences.

While makeup, sunglasses, and shoes are a common sight in Snapchat social commerce and AR shopping, tailoring clothing to fit users virtually is a bit more difficult due to the differences in body types and the need to accommodate for movement. Brands have been delayed but not deterred by the challenge, including American Eagle, which launched a partnership with Snapchat’s Shoppables earlier this year. American Eagle’s AE x Snapchat AR Jeans Guide enables users to try on a selection of the brand’s most famous jeans products, thus getting an accurate perspective of how each style fits and its unique details. 

Benefits of combining Snapchat social commerce with AR

snapchat social commerce experiences
Snapchat users love to play around with AR filters

As an increasingly popular platform, Snapchat offers significant potential in the growing field of social commerce. By the end of last year, Snapchat attained a milestone of 265 million daily active users worldwide — representing a year-on-year increase of 22%.

Snapchat’s AR feature is one of its most-used assets, with more than 170 million users engaging with AR every single day at an average of 30 times a day. That’s more than 5 billion potential touchpoints for brands.

Not only is AR widely accessed by Snapchat users, but it has also been demonstrated to improve the shopping experience. Users who engage with AR are more than twice as likely to buy the product, and their satisfaction with the product is markedly higher, resulting in 30% fewer returns.

The benefits for brands are measurable and also demonstrate the value of AR shopping on Snapchat beyond online purchases. For Nielsen Catalina Solutions, which tracks in-store sales driven by social media ads, the average sales lift was 10% across 22 Snapchat Lens campaigns

Getting started with Snapchat social commerce

To take advantage of Snapchat’s 265 million daily active users, tap into consumers interested in AR first, and make a strong and lasting brand impression, start creating your first AR Snapchat campaign today. If you’re not sure how to go about doing so or would like expert help and guidance, contact us. Having produced countless 3D and AR experiences, and as a partner of Snapchat, we know what works and what doesn’t — and we’d be more than happy to share this knowledge with you.

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