Snap and Amazon have formed a new partnership to bring more shoppable AR lenses to Snapchat. Starting with eyewear, products can be discovered, tried on with AR, and purchased. This end-to-end flow is meant to streamline shopping for AR-forward Snapchat users.

Launching with A-list brands such as Ray-Ban, Oakley, and Persol, Amazon will provide the product meta-data and transactional functionality. Snap will meanwhile handle the lens creation, tapping into its AR ad stack including its Lens Web Builder and Catalog Powered Lens format.

Snapchat users can find the new lenses on the @amazonfashion public profile on the Snapchat app, Snap’s Lens Explorer, the new “Dress-Up” tab, and the Snap Camera Lens Carousel. Once users discover and try-on products, they can tap once to check out through Amazon.

Altogether, the partnership helps brands amplify their reach and get introduced to AR commerce. Amazon benefits from the same, as it reaches Snap’s 365 million daily actives to boost eCommerce volume. And Snap benefits from continuing to scale up its AR shopping ambitions.

AR and Shopping Collide, Part I: Snap

Puma to Prada

As background, all the above builds on Snap’s Shopping Lenses. Used by brands from Puma to Prada, they offer easy ways to build shoppable AR experiences. These are lenses that are distributed virally and discovered on Snapchat, featuring AR try-ons and transactional options.

Snap has since improved Shopping Lenses with AR image processing technology that makes it easier for brands to generate 3D product models. It does this by processing brands’ existing 2D images – along with some machine-learning magic – into 3D models to be used in AR try-ons.

Now, Amazon takes things to a new level with additional inputs to generate these 3D assets. Specifically, Amazon’s own technology for 3D product models can be used. Or, eyewear brands that have already utilized Amazon’s tool can parlay them into Snapchat Shopping Lenses.

Though this 3D model generation seems like an unsexy back-end aspect of AR shopping, it’s an integral piece of the puzzle. After all, AR product try-ons need 3D product models to work. But this is one point of friction for consumer brands considering the jump to AR commerce.

Meanwhile, Amazon has dabbled in AR but not yet to this scale. It recently began to offer AR shoe try-ons. And it has partnered with Snap to power product listings in Snap Scan. Based on its operational scale, Amazon could potentially inflect AR shopping with any move it makes.

“Millions of customers regularly use Amazon’s AR shopping across categories in our stores, with Virtual Try-On for Eyewear being a long-time customer favorite,” said Amazon’s Muge Erdirik Dogan. “We are delighted to partner with Snapchat and further expand AR shopping.”

What’s Behind Amazon’s AR Play?

Informed Purchase

Panning back, this partnership comes as AR continues to evolve and scale as a shopping tool. To wrap some numbers around that, Snap reports that 250 million Snapchatters have engaged with AR shopping Lenses 5 billion+ times over the past year. It’s getting real traction.

In that sense, this partnership is also aligned with the rise of shoppability. This defines the emergence of transactional functionality on everything from YouTube videos to Instagram Stories. AR has been added to the mix to add value to shopping flows through more informed purchases.

As examined in a recent report by our research arm ARtillery Intelligence, now is the right time for this collision course of shoppability and AR. Both were given time to shine in the Covid Era when IRL shopping was locked down. Going forward, they’re driven by several macro factors.

One of those factors Snap’s motivation. AR spans the consumer purchase funnel from upper-funnel awareness to lower-funnel action. But as noted in Snap’s Q3 earnings, the latter is more recession-proof and is an area that the company is highly-motivated to develop and grow.

Speaking of growth, eyewear is a good place to start for Snap and Amazon. It builds on the popularity and virality of selfie lenses. But there’s ample room to expand from there given the fusion of Snap’s AR-forward audience and the breadth of products in Amazon’s everything store.

“With the combined innovation and technology between Snap and Amazon, we are unlocking exciting and fun new try-on experiences for hundreds of millions of Snapchatters,” said Snap SVP of partnerships Ben Schwerin. “AR eyewear is just the first step in our partnership.”

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