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As part of our deep dive into all things mobile, The Drum’s social media executive Amy Houston talks Snapchat’s Toccara Baker about AR e-commerce and what brands need to know about the platform’s latest offerings

Social networks are constantly evolving and new technology being tested to stay exciting and enticing for users and brands alike.

A major development has been the growth of social commerce, which gives brands an opportunity to fully integrate three pivotal marketing tactics into one channel: building brand awareness, engaging with consumers and selling products.

Snapchat has been aggressively making moves in the retail field recently with the launch of a whole host of new shopping features, including much-talked-about augmented reality (AR) filters and advertising options.

From its humble origins as a camera-first entertainment app to now offering unique shopping experiences with the likes of Samsung, Gucci and Off White, it’s interesting to think about how far brands can push this technology.

To find out what makes Snapchat unique within the commerce landscape, I spoke with its product marketer, Toccara Baker. She says: ”We are market leaders in this space and we have a very savvy audience that’s experienced in using AR and spends a significant amount of time playing and engaging with branded AR experiences.”

The eagerness to embrace new technology from Snapchat’s users is appealing to brands that want to leverage a full-funnel experience of ”engaging, shopping, trying on the product and being able to purchase it through the camera,” says Baker.

Having an always-on approach to camera strategies is becoming increasingly important for brands. Snapchat users are confident in engaging through a lens and with the future of retail relying heavily on digital technology, brands need to be talking about their camera capabilities internally as well as with agencies. Baker cites Mac, Dior and Gucci as examples of brands really killing it in this space and leaning into the effectiveness of AR ‘try on’.

 

 

 

Snapchat’s audience is well versed with AR, but it’s interesting to think about the user demographics and also the level of luxury goods on the platform. When discussing consumer confidence on the platform, Baker tells me that the ability for consumers to see what a product will actually look like on ”creates that deeper engagement and allows for an increase in things such as consideration and purchase intent”.

Bringing the shopping experience to life through the camera allows the opportunity ”for immediate purchase of the product,” she says.

There’s an appeal to being able to try on luxury goods through a camera – it’s not every day (well, for me anyway) that you get to wear Gucci shoes or an expensive watch. People will still want to experience this in person, however, with all the bells and whistles.

Snapchat has realized the importance of this and is focused on allowing ”Snapchatters and advertisers to really start bringing together the digital world and the physical world.

”We’re very focused on continuing to build out strong use cases from an AR perspective across various verticals that allow consumers to engage with these products within the world around them or potentially with each other.”

The possibilities for shoppers to enjoy a truly unique shopping experience on and offline with the inclusion of AR technology presents massive opportunities for brands as ”more and more consumers become used to engaging with experiences in this way”, Baker adds.

She predicts that we will continue to see different types of buying practices emerge, which will lead to a ”natural progression of consumers being used to engaging with AR or engaging with products in this way”.

Looking towards the future of social commerce on Snapchat, she tells me how it is focused on ”providing the opportunity for an organic experience for advertisers”.

With the recent launch of its public profiles for businesses of all sizes, Snapchat users ”engage with these AR formats and deepen their engagement with a brand,” she notes.

Public profiles allow brands to create a store and place a variety of different products, which is where Baker says we will see interesting developments as it creates a true ”native shopping experience”.

Tech developments within social media always feel impressive as they present new creative opportunities for brands. The line between the on and offline world may blur, but the endless possibilities AR presents within social commerce are clear and the brands that cement their role in this will most definitely reap the rewards.