Snapchat’s Dress Up feature turns your phone into an AR shopping mall

It’s becoming a fundamental law of the internet: where people socialize, they should also shop. Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and pretty much every other social media and messaging app on the planet have spent the last two years trying to turn every pixel in your chats and photos into a shopping opportunity in one. click.

Snap’s plans on this front are more ambitious than most. It tries to take the whole shopping experience – you see a shirt you like on a stranger, figure out what it is and where to buy it, try it on, buy it, wear it, send it back because everything looks better on Ryan Reynolds than you, rinse and repeat – and direct it through Snap’s AR camera. With Camera Kit, most of these technologies can also work on brand websites and retailer apps. And there’s always – always – a buy button.

It’s a lot to do, but Snap is moving fast. The company announced at its annual Creators Summit on Thursday that it’s expanding its AR try-on features that let users use their cameras to virtually try on eyewear and clothing, and it’s also creating an in-app hub. app called Dress Up which she hopes can be something like the future of the mall.

Dress Up isn’t meant to be like a simple catalog of things to buy, although it certainly is. Snap hopes it can be a little more fun and experiential than your average Amazon page. “It’s not just a product feed shopping tab,” Carolina Navas, head of AR strategy and product marketing at Snap, said in an interview. “Now there’s a really essential utility use case that we’re focusing on driving as well, because obviously buying stuff is how everybody gets paid,” but it There’s also a huge area of ​​fashion that involves expressing yourself and asking friends for advice and having fun with friends.”

Dress Up is Snapchat’s new hub for all your shopping needs.
Picture: Snapchat

When you open the Dress Up hub and choose an item, you’ll be able to try it on through Snap’s AR lenses, as well as take a picture of how it looks and share it with friends to get their feedback. Dress Up will also feature designer content, as well as brand tips and insights, all changing based on what you like, how you use the platform, and even where you are. And everywhere, everything can be purchased with a click or two.

AR shopping as a concept might seem a bit hokey – how often do you really need to AR a couch in your living room to see if it’s right for you? — but Snap says it’s starting to catch on. More than 250 million users have used AR shopping lenses more than 5 billion times in total, and Snap says its data shows that these lenses convert a much higher percentage of potential buyers than normal advertising. And Navas said the appeal comes down to the idea that shopping is more than just buying. “A lot of people think the purchase funnel ends at the purchase,” she said, “but that’s the beginning of the customer experience for a brand or retailer selling a product” . She mentioned a company, Too Faced Cosmetics, that lets users scan their new eyeshadow palette with the Snapchat camera for a tutorial on how to use it.

The big challenge for Snap will be growing its catalog to bring everything people can buy into these AR experiences. Until now, it’s taken a lot of specialized work to create three-dimensional digital versions of everything you do, but Snap is trying to make it easier. He announced a new technology called Snap AR Image Processing, which is exactly what it sounds like: it uses machine learning to take regular product photos and turn them into 3D models. The technology comes from Forma, a virtual fitting company that Snap quietly acquired to improve its fitting experiences. All users need to do is take a full body selfie and they can try almost anything.


Snap can now turn any product image into a 3D model.
Picture: Snap

Snap has been working on the technology for about 18 months, Navas said, and tested it with a few brands before rolling it out to other companies this year. “The actual process of building an AR lens has gone from an 8-12 week experience to minutes.” The technology is new but impressive, she said, and, when combined with user-entered height and weight information and whether this augmented reality-adaptive shirt fits actually to real life, it can improve quickly.

Snap, like every other platform trying to embrace in-app purchases, needs to be careful not to let the shopping experience overtake everything else. Snapchat users might like shopping for the looks of their friends and favorite celebrities, but they’ll love that every photo they send is hidden behind a hundred buttons telling you where to buy their eye shadow, necklace and hair. plant behind them. Navas said that’s part of the reason Snap created its own Dress Up tab, rather than unnecessarily embedding the feature everywhere else.

But she’s also pretty confident that people like to shop. A lot. “We meet people whose mindset isn’t just, ‘I’m coming to this tab to buy a pair of Prada sunglasses.’ It’s “I come here to explore, have fun, and discover products along the way.”


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Peggy P. Gilmore