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Will Snap’s AR Filters Make Digital Shopping More Fun and Profitable?

Innovative brands have been using virtual tools such as augmented reality for many years to offer a futuristic and exciting shopping experience. Their focus lies on fun instead of function. However, as consumers continue to be cautious of trying on products in-store, augmented reality is gradually becoming an e-commerce utility rather than just being a source of entertainment.

AR technology solution Vertebrae has discovered in its recent consumer survey that of those who had used AR for e-commerce, 76% said that it improved buying confidence. While just 39% have experienced AR in a shopping environment, this figure is double that of 2018, with the success rate also being high. 68% of users reported that they are willing to buy from retailers who provide digital AR shopping experiences.

Vince Cacace, the company’s CEO has said that with the pandemic continuing to affect shopping behaviors, it is evident that consumers are eager for virtual experiences that help correctly assess how things will appear in a real-life context. Retailers and brands are showing a keen interest in this changing consumer behavior.

Snap Inc., a globally renowned AR company, has been actively involved in the e-commerce space and it reports being frequently approached by firms who are thinking about collaborating on new activations. Drummond who heads fashion at Snap described that there has been an interest in developing such experiences, however, 2020’s digitization push has also boosted AR’s adoption.

Snap AR filters for digital shopping. Image: footwearnews

The firm listens to numerous brand requests and uses these to inspire innovative projects. Once the company has perfected its technology, it then contacts potential partners to take things further. As per the present customer expectations, an AR filter needs to offer entertainment value as the majority of AR shoppers are below 30 years of age, as per Vertebrae. But unlike its conventional consumer-facing filters, Snap’s e-commerce-try-on-experiences are focused on both entertainment and conversion.

Drummond talks about their regular lenses and that they start with ‘what is going to be the most engaging, the most fun, and the most creative?’. He further mentioned that Snap puts in a lot of effort to ensure that the shopping experience is both accurate and useful and that it shows customers what the real in-person experience is like. This signifies being able to accurately map a product into an environment or onto a body part so that users can visualize the product in their real lives, which proves to be a bigger challenge than adjusting the present face filters.

Snap has joined hands with several tech firms to help create try-on features, like Wannaby. The company has also developed an open-source platform to encourage further innovation and collaboration. The latest Snap collaborations include the Hoka One One and Gucci filters. The firm has also introduced its new Brand Profiles aspect in a beta mode, which allows brands to build a permanent home within the Snap app and provide AR lenses and native commerce stores. Some of the participating brands are Louis Vuitton, Dior, Prada, Target, and Gucci.

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