ave you ever wished you could try on a pair of sunglasses from Amazon before you buy them?
Well, now you can, providing you have a Snapchat account.
When Snapchat first launched back in 2011, it marketed itself as a way to quickly share “moments” from your life in the form of pictures, messages, and short videos. One of its many features were camera filters that, when activated, could virtually change your appearance in a photo or video in real-time.
In 2022, their parent company, Snap, Inc., leveraged that technology into building an augmented reality feature called AR Shopping. Using AR Shopping, retailers can upload their products on Snapchat as Lenses for users to “try on” - virtually, of course - before they buy them.
The new feature has already found enormous success. In 2022, 250 million Snapchat users (out of 363 million daily active users, as of October 2022) have utilized the AR Shopping Lenses over 5 billion times.
Snap has already partnered with many popular brands representing diverse retail categories, including Wal-Mart, American Eagle, Ulta, and MAC. Now, it’s landed on a team-up that promises to be its biggest one yet.
Amazon has entered the chat.
To start, Amazon is offering AR Shopping Lenses for eyewear. By going to Amazon’s Snapchat profile, @amazonfashion, users will be able to virtually try on dozens of styles of sunglasses, reading glasses, and fashion glasses, from brands like Ray-Ban, Costa del Mar, Oakley, and more.
After they find a pair of glasses they like, users can just click a link at the bottom of the product page, and Snapchat will redirect them to the Amazon app or website to complete their purchase. It’s fast, simple, and easy - exactly suited to the Snapchat brand.
While Amazon is only listing AR Shopping Lenses for eyewear for now, that will soon change. According to TechCrunch, there’s a bigger plan in place, and more categories from Amazon’s catalog will be available to try on in Snapchat in the coming months.
To create their eyewear try-on experience for Snapchat users, Amazon imported pre-existing 3D models of their products into Snap’s Lens Web Builder. The Lens Web Builder allows businesses to turn their product into a 3D AR asset in just a few minutes. It also features a technology where you can generate AR assets from normal photos.
Virtual try-ons are a smart application of augmented reality. In a time when more and more people are buying their eyewear, clothes, shoes, makeup, and other fashion accessories online, the ability to try a product on before buying it has vast customer appeal.
Of course, AR shopping experiences can’t replace the feeling of trying on a pair of glasses. They may look good on camera, but you might receive them and discover that the arms are too tight, or the nose pieces are uncomfortable.
Still, it addresses at least one important weakness of online fashion shopping, and that is not knowing what the product will look like on your body. Is it flattering? Is it your color? Snap’s AR Shopping Lenses remove that uncertainty and open the door to more confident consumer purchasing.
Which is music to Amazon’s ears.