Snap Accelerates the Rise of Shoppability

Shoppability is the new black. As we recently examined, there’s a trend towards everything being shoppable. We’re talking buy buttons on everything from YouTube videos to Instagram Stories. This isn’t necessarily a new phenomenon but is one of the many trends that’s been Covid-accelerated.

Elsewhere – and for similar reasons – we’re seeing a separate eCommerce trend: visual shopping. This takes form in product visualization and visual search. The former lets you try on everything from shoes to lipstick to couches using AR lenses. The latter identifies things you point your phone at.

Panning back, these two macro trends are on a collision course that could transform shopping. Point your phone at a new jacket a friend is wearing using Google Lens or Snap Scan, then buy it right on the spot. It compresses the purchase funnel through a visually-informed decision flow that sheds friction.

All of the above is well underway, but still needs development in capability and cultural acclimation. Accelerating that process is, again, Covid’s broader eCommerce inflections. Another accelerant is apps like Snap that let AR piggyback on established behavior in socially-fueled product discovery.

2021 Was All About Shopability


Against that backdrop, Snap’s latest move is “catalog-powered” lenses. These build on its signature AR lens format with a purpose-built format for shopping. They take form in new Lens Product Cards that can be activated from Snap’s existing Shopping Lenses in order to stimulate shopping.

These cards display product information like size and color variants, price, product description, and calls-to-action. The latter can include buy buttons or direct links to a given brand’s eCommerce site. And all along the shopping flow, the option exists to activate the camera to try-on items.

On the other end of the equation, Snap is sweetening the deal for brands to get involved in visual shopping. That includes making Shopping Lenses easier to create with no-code tools and templates in its Lens Studio. It now boasts a two-minute creation process for style and beauty lenses.

Snap is also bringing more analytics to the table. This includes real-time AR shopping performance data for a given lens. This can help brands refine tactics to boost conversions in this new medium. It can also be a sort of virtual (cheaper) test marketing channel to inform product directions.

Will Snap Bring Visual Search to Local Commerce?

Helping Hand

Speaking of “new medium” these analytics join an ongoing string of Snap moves and investments to help onboard brands to AR marketing and make it less intimidating. Recent moves include the launch of its Arcadia AR-focused studio, the AR Lab dedicated agency, and ongoing Lens Studio investments.

But the thing that speaks to brands most is results. Trial partner Ulta Beauty reports $6 million in incremental purchases and more than 30 million product try-ons in a two-week period. MAC cosmetics saw 1.3 million try-ons, with a 2.4x lift in brand awareness and a 17x conversion rate over benchmarks.

Panning back to the 30+ brands in its catalog-powered lens trials, there were 250 million try-ons. These saw an aver 2.4x higher purchase intent and 14 percent sales lift over video ad benchmarks. Though brands are comfort-bound, they’re also results-oriented, so these metrics should resonate.

Altogether, catalog-powered lenses formalize existing shopping on Snapchat to accelerate activity for both consumers and brands. Those factors represent a virtuous cycle: More lenses drive engagement, which drive more branded lenses. And all these roads lead back to more ad dollars.

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