Snap Brings Lens Creation to SMB SaaS

Snap Lenses have become popular among Gen-Z and beyond to enliven selfies and other multimedia through animated and dimensional graphics. After landing with users, this format began to attract brand marketers and savvy SMBs to do the same in both organic and paid/amplified ways.

This all occurs within Snap’s low-code Lens Studio, which lowers barriers and technical complexity for individuals, brand marketers, and SMBs to do all the above. And Snap continues to bolt on additional functions, including Camera Kit, which lets companies integrate Lens Studio with their design workflows.

Now Snap is taking the next step in bringing its lens creation capabilities to businesses of all sizes. Its new AR Enterprise Services (ARES) launched today to empower consumer-facing companies to turn their products into interactive lenses. And they can do so in a hosted and supported SaaS product.

The main benefit here is the ability for companies to create lenses that can be integrated with and delivered through their own channels. So in addition to having a presence on Snap where customers can virtually try on their products, brands and SMBs can now offer the same on their own apps or websites.

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Confident Consumer

Going deeper on ARES, it offers four main features. The first is the capability to create try-on lenses. This is suited towards brands and SMBs that sell clothes, hats, shoes, or anything that goes on your body. Snap has developed such dimensional try-ons to the point where it can now spin it out via SaaS.

This continues to be a format that resonates with apparel brands – starting with early adopters and increasingly expanding from there. The idea is that such try-ons engender a more informed and confident consumer purchase. This is proven to boost conversions, and also – notably – lessen returns.

The second ARES feature is the ability for brands and SMBs to offer their customers the option to upload images of themselves to see how a given item might look on them. This includes a 3D viewer to see the style and fit from all angles, as well as AI-fueled sizing recommendations based on that virtual fit.

Thirdly, ARES provides back-end support in terms of hosting and managing digital assets. All the above require 3D models which can be bandwidth intensive. Leaning on Snap’s already-existing Lens cloud, it can help ARES subscribers host those files and deliver them in a cloud-hosted and distributed way.

Lastly, ARES offers support. Given that lens-based virtual try-ons are still in early-adopter territory, there’s an intimidation factor for brands and SMBs that tend to shy away from emerging tech. The support component – not to mention the SaaS packaging itself – is meant to lessen the fear factor.

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Downmarket Shift

In that light, it’s notable that ARES components are all things that Snap has assembled over the past few years. It’s now simply bringing them together into a SaaS package so that it’s a digestible value proposition and integration for companies. It even comes with analytics to monitor performance.

That list of existing assets includes Lens Studio, Camera Kit, and Lens Cloud, as noted. Joining the mix are capabilities such as 3D body-fitting technology gained in Snap’s 2021 Fit Analytics acquisition. It’s also been refining its chops for dimensional try-ons through products like catalog-powered lenses.

To bring ARES to market, it’s already been testing it with partner brands such as sunglasses outfit Goodr, clothing company Princess Polly, and apparel supplier Gobi Cashmere. Snap says that these partners have already seen greater engagement, conversion rates, and fewer returns, per the above claims.

Altogether, AES is a logical move. Bringing all that capability into a digestible SaaS package could accelerate marketers’ lens adoption. That includes the down-market shift to SMBs. TikTok is strong there… so its geopolitical outcomes (ban) could create an opening for Snap to grow its market share.

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