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05/21/2021

Snapchat introduces virtual shopping tools

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Smart camera company Snap Inc. is rolling out new augmented reality (AR) capabilities to streamline social commerce on its Snapchat visual platform.

These include a set of new AR-based virtual try-on experiences with fashion partners. Farfetch provides an immersive shopping experience using 3D Body Mesh and voice-enabled controls, letting customers say what items they’re looking to browse and try on in AR. And Prada is leveraging new gesture recognition capabilities that let shoppers signal to the camera when they want to try on another item.

Snapchat is also rolling out a Public Profiles for Businesses feature which enables brands to establish a permanent presence on Snapchat. The profiles can include browsing, try-on and buying through the Shops e-commerce tool, turning Snapchat into a new point of sale.

In addition, Snap is introducing API-enabled Lenses, which are virtual animations overlaid on a Snapchat photo. Brands such as M·A·C Cosmetics can build Lenses from new AR shopping templates and publish them to Snapchat, based on real-time product inventory. Snap is also working with select partners to bring real-time content into Lenses.

Snap is also updating the Snapchat Lens Studio desktop application with advanced tools such as Connected Lenses, which lets consumers interact together in real time, whether located in the same room or across the world. Snap and the Lego Group have created the first Connected Lens, so consumers can collaboratively build with Lego bricks on Snapchat.

And Lens Studio now offers features designed to make AR look and move more realistically, including 3D Body Mesh, Cloth Simulation, and a Visual Effects Editor. The SnapML machine learning tool now enables creators to import their own custom machine learning models that analyze and generate audio, so Lenses can respond to sound. Visual classification enables creators to build Lenses that understand more than 500 categories of objects. 

As Lenses become more advanced, Snap says new Lens analytics will provide anonymous and aggregated data to help creators learn from their audiences and build better Lenses, while protecting privacy.

Other new tools and capabilities include additional categories of intelligence for the Scan button, which lets users search through millions of Lenses by matching what is seen through the camera to the most relevant AR experiences on Snapchat. These include Screenshop, which gives shopping recommendations from hundreds of brands when users scan a friend’s outfit, and users can also select photos from the Memories function to Scan with Screenshop. Soon, Allrecipes will recommend recipes based on ingredients seen through the Snapchat camera.