Snapchat is improving its AR shopping experience today with updates to both the Shopping Lenses in its social app and the analytics shared with Snap’s brand and retail partners. For consumers, the AR store features become more convenient to use, as they now display important product information, updated in real time, such as current product prices and color details, alongside product descriptions and unique links to make purchases on new Lens Product Cards that appear as users virtually try on products .

For brands, the updates aim to provide more data on how their AR store features are performing.

These analytics are now delivered in real-time, as the AR store lenses are linked directly to the company’s product catalog, Snap explains. This enables brands and marketers to gain more immediate insights to help them with their R&D plans, as well as determine which types of products best suit Snapchat’s younger, Gen Z, and millennial audiences. Brands can then incorporate that data when making ad targeting decisions and future product development. Snap notes that the data could also help the brands optimize the delivery of their Shopping Lens to the app users most likely to make a purchase.

Ahead of today’s public launch, Snap has beta tested the new AR lens with a handful of brands, including Ulta Beauty and MAC Cosmetics. Using these “catalog-driven” Shopping lenses, as they’re called, Ulta reported $6 million in incremental purchases on Snapchat and over 30 million product try-ons within a two-week period. MAC, meanwhile, saw 1.3 million try-ons at a cost of 0.31 cents per product trial and reported a 17x increase in purchases from women, 2.4x increase in brand awareness and 9x light purchase intent.

Users can swipe and gesture to browse different AR product options while shopping with AR to see how makeup, clothing, jewelry, and accessories look on their own. The experience aims to provide a technology-driven alternative to trying on items in a retailer’s store, serving a growing number of online-only brands without a physical footprint, as well as traditional retailers seeking a younger audience who often shop online.

Image Credits: Snap

Snap also makes the AR shop lenses easier to make. While it launched a free website builder tool for brands building AR experiences last year, it didn’t include easy-to-use AR store templates. Now the company promises that the creation of AR Shopping Lens can be accomplished in just two minutes with a few clicks. This is made possible by an update to the Lens Web Builder, but initially only for beauty brands. In the coming months, Snap will offer similar updates for other store categories. In the meantime, any brand can continue to use Snap’s Lens Studio to build their AR lenses.

The company has invested heavily in its AR shopping business in recent months, aiming to make shopping a deeper part of the overall Snapchat experience. Last year, it upgraded its computer vision-powered Scan product, which allows users to “scan” an item with their phone’s camera to learn more about the product, such as a piece of clothing. The feature can also be used to scan ingredients and then link them to recipes where they can be used. It also spent $124 million to acquire Fit Analytics, a startup that helps consumers find clothes and shoes from online retailers that fit well. Last October, Snap also announced the launch of a creative studio, Arcadia, that is helping to further commercialize its AR technology by helping brands develop AR experiences that can be used across platforms, including web and apps outside of Snapchat itself.

Image Credits: Snap

AR try-on appears to be resonating with Snap’s younger demographic, according to data Snap shared. In a beta test involving more than 30 brands, Snapchat users virtually tried products more than 250 million times. AR try-on also resulted in a 2.4x increase in purchase intent and a +14% increase in sales over video spend, the data shows. Including non-shopping AR features, more than 200 million Snapchat users interact with AR in the app every day.

“Augmented reality is changing the way we shop, play and learn, changing the way companies tell their stories and sell their products,” Snap’s chief business officer, Jeremi Gorman, said in a statement. “Starting today, our revamped AR Shopping Lenses will deliver a more engaging experience for our Snapchat community and a faster, easier way to build Lenses for Business — Linking lenses directly to existing product catalogs for real-time analysis and R&D on which products resonate with the audience of Generation Z and millennials.”

The AR improvements could also give Snap a way to better compete with larger social media companies, which haven’t focused as much on AR-enabled shopping in favor of other experiences, such as live video shopping, influencer marketing powered by branded deals and in-app shopping experiences that allow users to transact from within the social app they use, such as Shopping on Instagram. And Snap also hopes its lens-targeting features will help the company increase its ad revenue — numbers impacted by Apple’s new privacy features, which caused Snap to miss Wall Street’s earnings expectations during its quarterly earnings. It brought in $1.07 billion in revenue in the third quarter of 2021, compared to the forecast of $1.10 billion, pushing its stock down 22% after earnings were reported. Snap will report its fourth quarter and full year 2021 results on February 3, 2022.

This post Snap upgrades its AR Shopping features with real-time pricing, more product details – TechCrunch

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