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Snapchat Continues to Advance its AR Try-On Tools, Pointing to the Next Stage of Online Shopping

Snapchat has provided a new showcase of its evolving AR Try-On tools via a new integration for ComplexCon, which enables Snap users to virtually try on branded t-shirts and hoodies to see how they look in the app.

It’s not perfect yet. The digital overlays still look a little puffy, and are not perfectly aligned to the users’ proportions. But it’s another example of Snap’s rising advances in body-mapping, which will eventually enable users to try on all types of clothing, aligned to their personal size options and other customizations, streamlining in-app purchase activity.

Snapchat already offers various AR Try On options for ad campaigns, including make-up, glasses, jewelry, shoes, and purses, among others.

The company’s been developing the next stage of digital wearables for some time. Back in May, Snap worked with Prada and Farfetch on a range of digital try-on projects, which included some upper body clothing.

Farfetch try on in Snapchat

Snap also acquired digital sizing company FitAnalytics in March, which provides tools to help facilitate more accurate product matches, while also collecting data on customer preferences.

The combination of these developments has seen Snap make significant strides in its AR overlays, and while Facebook and Apple are also working on their own virtual product options, Snap looks to be holding its own on the innovation front, which could see it play a much bigger part in the next stage of commerce.

While broader eCommerce trends are likely to see a slowdown in 2022, as physical stores re-open around the world, the momentum behind online shopping will continue to grow, with the rise over the last two years only exacerbating an existing, longer-term trend.

US eCommerce sales over time [chart]

As you can see in this chart, via Oberlo, eCommerce sales were already rising steadily before the COVID boost, and are on track to exceed last year’s numbers based on the first half of the year. That, again, will likely recede somewhat in 2022, but even so, it seems likely that online product sales will even out at a significantly higher rate than they were 2019, with habitual trends and familiarity now pushing more consumers online, and prompting more apps and platforms to offer in-stream purchase options, in order to lean into what may well be the biggest consumer shift of this generation.

The shift is particularly strong among younger consumer groups, who are now accustomed to finding and purchasing products online, while advances like live-stream shopping, sometimes offering exclusive merchandise, and AR Try-On tools are making it increasingly easy for consumers to buy from their device, and stay up with the latest trends without having to rush to the local mall on the day of release.

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In some ways, that also relates to their online persona as well, and it’s interesting to consider how our online and offline worlds are starting to also merge, broadening the value of digital purchases.

For example, NBA player Tyrese Haliburton recently wore a pair of sneakers adorned with his Bored Ape, an NFT art piece which he purchased online.

Halliburton NFT example

As you can see here, part of the attraction of these unique artworks is that ownership data is stored on the blockchain, meaning it’s publicly accessible, so you can look each individual piece up online and see who owns it (via OpenSea).

That could spark a new trend of repurposing online acquired art for unique, real-world fashion items, expanding the potential use of such beyond, say, adorning your digital avatar with your latest skin.

It’ll be interesting to see how this trend develops from an eCommerce perspective, and with Instagram and Twitter also exploring their own NFT showcase options on profiles, you can see how these trends could start to merge and facilitate additional use cases.

That could also open up a range of new marketing opportunities and tie-ins, eventually connecting into the rising metaverse push. No one knows for sure what the metaverse will be just yet, or how digital art that you purchase now will translate – a likely key aspect of their future value proposition. But even so, there’s significant momentum right now around this next level push, and we’re starting to see more ways in which online shopping is evolving, and how that will then lead to a greater merging of your on and offline identities.

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