Snap’s big push into ecommerce

Snap users will be able to try on clothes and buy products straight from the app.


May 24, 2021

It wasn’t too long ago that Snap’s social platform Snapchat almost imploded.

After going public at a valuation of $24B in March 2017, the “camera first” company cratered, with its value falling to $6B in late December 2018.

The decline was catalyzed by one of corporate history’s most shameless rip-offs: Zucky McCopycat had taken Snapchat’s popular Stories feature and grafted it onto Instagram.

But after years of incredible execution, Snap is now worth $86B…

… and it’s building an ecommerce platform for the future

Per CNBC, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel announced a slate of new shopping tools at the 2021 Snap Partner Summit:

  • Virtually try on clothes: Users can shop brands’ catalogs and — with advanced augmented reality (AR) — superimpose clothes onto their body and jewelry on their wrists
  • Copy an outfit: “Screenshop” is a feature that allows users to scan a photo and receive clothing recommendations based on the image
  • Shop in the app: Businesses can launch public profiles and list products that users can buy with a click

Why the shopping push?

One big reason: Apple recently updated its privacy policies, which largely prevents user tracking across iPhone apps.

The change makes it difficult for advertisers to measure the effectiveness of their ads.

By facilitating sales within its app, Snap can clearly connect a purchase decision to an ad. Ecommerce is also a good way for Snap to diversify, with advertising making up *checks notes* 99% of revenue.

Snap just passed 500m monthly users

Spiegel is feeling it so much that Snap is even giving Spectacles — its maligned smart glasses project — another go.

While the previous iteration was basically just a camera on sunglasses, Snap is now working on fully AR glasses. (In fact, it just acquired AR glass firm WaveOptics for $500m.)

It’s not yet available for sale. A select group of AR creators are testing it, which probably makes sense since the battery life is… 30 minutes.

Whether this project succeeds, Snap has come a long way from its “imploding” days.

A user virtually “tries on” a watch (Source: Snap / CNBC)

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