Retail Tech Thursday: Snapchat upgrades augmented reality shopping

Retail Tech Thursday is our weekly check-in here at Spreckley, where we share the most interesting retail and retail technology news, innovations, and trends.

This week’s hot topics are Snapchat’s latest upgrades to its augmented reality (AR) shopping, as well as the latest research into Brit’s shopping habits that shows how consumers’ decisions to shop online are increasingly influenced by a brand’s presence on the UK’s high streets.

Snapchat launches new AR commerce & shopping experience

With the launch of catalogue-powered shopping lenses, Snapchat has upgraded its augmented reality (AR) shopping according to a recent report on Martech.org. The company says this will make AR shopping “simpler and more engaging for consumers” and easier to “build, scale and optimise” for brands.

This will include a simplified AR try-on shopping interface for “Snapchatters”, enabling them to quickly see product information including prices, descriptions, and unique URLs to purchase with new Lens Product Cards as they try on products. Brands can also access real-time data about which products are the most popular and get instant feedback about what is working and what isn’t. Furthermore, Snapchat has expanded its Lens Web builder, enabling beauty brands to create shopping lenses within minutes.

From trying on makeup, to shoes, to watches, to glasses, AR shopping is a key emerging part of how its community engages with the app. Snapchatters engage with AR more than 6 billion times per day, according to Snapchat.

“Augmented reality is changing the way we shop, play, and learn, and transforming how businesses tell their stories and sell their products,” Snap Inc chief business officer Jeremi Gorman said.

“Starting today, our revamped AR Shopping Lenses will mean a more engaging experience for our Snapchat community, and enable a faster, easier way to build Lenses for businesses — directly linking Lenses to existing product catalogues for real-time analytics and R&D about which products resonate with Gen Z and Millennial audiences.”

Omnichannel Brits opt for digital retailers with a high street presence

Consumers’ decisions to shop online are increasingly influenced by a brand’s presence on high streets, according to Retail Technology Innovation Hub, whose next retail tech event will be held in London in April 2022.

In a survey of 2,000 UK shoppers, 29% said that their long-term loyalty would be secured by retailers making them feel like valued individuals instead of just website traffic.

21% of UK consumers said they would make a purchase from a digital retailer if their e-commerce offer was accompanied by a physical presence on the high street.

Matt Bradley, Event Director at the Retail Technology Show, comments: “Whilst responsible for a seismic shift and much disruption in the retail industry, the truth is that the future of retail arrived long before Covid.

“For well over a decade, retailers have been on a journey to transform their businesses to engage the omnichannel customer, whose demands have converged across channels and now expect seamless, personal and connected shopping journeys.

“The rate of change from business to business has varied wildly, but with the accelerated shift to new ways of shopping in the past 18 months, the urgency to act is now more pressing than ever.

“Retailers’ biggest challenge is how to trade effectively right now whilst implementing the technologies and processes that will help them stay relevant as many of the current consumer trends turn into business as usual.”