Snapchat Adds ‘Catalog-Powered Shopping Lenses’ to Simplify AR Product Displays

Snapchat’s looking to take its AR tools to next level for eCommerce, with the addition of new ‘Catalog-Powered Shopping Lenses’, which will enable brands to showcase a range of products within a single Lens, providing more virtual try-on options for users.

Snapchat AR catalog example

As you can see in this example, the new option will make it easy for Snap users to quickly test out different products within a single Lens promotion, with each displayed item also including product details, including price, for direct reference in the app.

As it sounds, Snap’s Catalog Lenses will be directly linked to a company’s product catalog, providing more capacity for expanded product display in each campaign, while it’ll also help Snap deliver direct, product-aligned feedback to brands, in real-time. If you see that one product is getting more attention than another, for example, that could direct your further promotions, or inform your experiments to see what results you get.

The same process also provides Snap with more insight into what products each individual user is engaging with, which will help in its own ad targeting systems, improving the performance of campaigns.

Snap AR catalog example

In addition to this, Snap’s also looking to make it easier for more brands to create shopping AR Lenses, by updating its Lens Web Builder tool with new templates and tools to streamline the process.

Snapchat Lens Web Builder

As you can see in this example, the new tools will enable brands to build AR experiences by using pre-made functions, so you can point and click your way through the Lens creation process.

As per Snap:

We’ve now made it so brands can generate a commerce Lens in as fast as two minutes and Beauty brands can do so in just a few clicks. At launch, this 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.”

That’s a significant advance, and really, represents the next stage for AR commerce. While there’s clearly value in AR promotions, with 71% of Snap users regularly engaging with its AR tools, and over 100 million consumers already shopping with AR, a key stumbling block for many brands, right now, is the time and resources required to build an AR experience, which really leaves such only within the domain of big brands.

But if Snap can democratize the process, by making it easier for all brands to participate, that could be very enticing for many retailers, and could see Snap’s ad options get a big boost from increased attention across the board.

It’s still in limited capacity right now, but it’s interesting to see Snap’s continued work in building simplified AR creation tools, which could help more businesses lean into the coming AR shift.

Which will be significant. Meta’s still working on its ‘Project Aria’ AR glasses, while Snap is also developing AR-enabled Spectacles, and Apple too is well-advanced in its AR wearables plan. One or all of these options is likely to catch on and become an essential accessory, and when that happens, you can bet that interest in AR will explode in many markets.

Snap’s already ahead of the curve on this front, and if it can get these new additions right, it could be well-placed to make big money on the next big consumer shift.  

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