Earlier this week a self-described “technology leaker” tipped off TechCrunch to the discovery of Amazon logo image files in the coding of Snapchat app. Digging a little deeper, the code suggests an evolving integration between the two companies in the form of a visual product search feature (which allegedly would link Snapchat-scanned items to Amazon’s online store via an API feed). This new feature would be embedded directly in the Snapchat app bringing a see it, want it, buy it culture to a bigger audience. Snap Inc. declined to comment on the story and Amazon did not respond prior to its publication.
Details and Implications:
Shazam’s song recognition technology has been integrated into Snapchat since December 2016. The Amazon integration appears it will be activated in a similar way, by launching visual search through identification of products, logo or barcodes that would link straight to purchase – just ‘Snap and buy’!
Pinterest, Ebay and ASOS have added visual search functionality into their apps, allowing people to use their camera to search for items and similar products. Google Lens has led the way in having this function ready to go in the Pixel phone camera. If it comes to fruition, the Snap and Amazon integration would provide universal opportunity for keen shoppers, on the move, who are not equipped with an in-built lens feature.
Snapchat’s audience has historically skewed younger, with approximately 57% of Snapchat’s US users being between 13 – 24 years old, whilst Amazon Prime account holders skew slightly older in the US, with an average age of 40+. This partnership could also be a strategic proposition from Amazon to win over those younger consumers, gaining favorability via a platform they already know and trust.
Shoppable utility has become popular online with TrueView for Shopping on YouTube and Shoppable posts and ads on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. This integration could be Snapchat’s response to extend its commerce offering and generate another revenue stream enabling it to take a cut of the purchase profits by facilitating and shortening the consumer journey.
Snapchat launched shoppable AR lenses in April 2018. It took a step towards closing the gap between branded lenses and sales via an action button that executes one of three potential actions for users as they interact with the AR content – visit an online store, view a video or install an app. Snapchat’s AR technology has been used for branded entertainment purposes, which has driven double the levels of engagement of regular advertising (Mindshare Layered Report). This new integration would see Snapchat’s platform move closer to sales, closing the gap between content and sales and showing a clearer impact on ROI.
This week also saw Facebook launch a comparable AR commerce feature in its news feed. In partnership with Michael Kors, users can virtually try on sunglasses and click straight through to the Michael Kors site to purchase.
In 2017, retail ecommerce sales globally reached $2.304 trillion which was a 24% increase over the previous year. Additionally, Amazon’s global ecommerce sales are growing approximately 30% year on year (eMarketer). Innovation around commerce is fast paced and brands need to explore the cross section between social, AR and ecommerce to define the most relevant approach for them in this space, particularly as the direct to consumer relationship becomes more important.