Cheat Sheet: Why Snap plans to integrate Screenshop as part of it’s hot pursuit of e-commerce

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In its continuing push into being used as a commerce tool, Snapchat will be integrating the technology of Screenshop, an app that can detect clothing and furniture in screenshots uploaded by users.

The move comes at a time when social media platforms are competing to add e-commerce features and crack the social shopping code. According to The Information, the new feature will be found inside of Snapchat’s Memories, where users can save videos and photos for later. The feature will then direct users to third-party websites in order to complete purchases.

The key details:

  • Snap plans to debut Screenshop integration at its annual developer conference in May
  • Last fall, Snap acquired Craze, the startup behind Screenshop. Last month, Snap also acquired Fit Analytics, a startup developing a way to identify clothing in photos.
  • Craze characterizes the app as a “Shazam for clothes,” and that the app can identify and provide purchase links for 10 million products from over 400 brands such as Saks Fifth Avenue and ASOS. 

Screenshop makes money through sales commissions after sending users to online retailers to complete purchases, an arrangement Snap plans to keep in place, according to sources familiar with the plans. Screenshop is still currently available for download separately from Snapchat.

Building blocks 

This won’t be Snap’s first effort to get its 265 million global users to shop through the app. The company has worked to reposition itself in the e-commerce space, especially when just a few years ago, publishers were skeptical about its ability to drive sales. But now more brands are putting more ad dollars towards Snapchat since it is more targeted than TikTok and helps them diversify away from Facebook.

For example, late last year, Ralph Lauren created a Bitmoji outfits collection, with over 20 million users opting for a Ralph Laruen look, according to Snap. Users could also scan the Ralph Lauren pony logo to start an AR shopping experience. In October of 2020, Dior used an AR try-on lens featuring six different pairs of shoes for their B27 sneaker launch.

Snapchat also has Brand Profiles, which serve as “permanent homes” for brand AR lenses, videos and photos, as well as native shopping experiences.

“As we have learned from our progress in providing new ways for people to try-on and interact with products using augmented reality, improvements in the shopping experience to make it more entertaining and immersive can lead to powerful downstream results in terms of conversion,” said Snap ceo Evan Spiegel in the company’s most recent earnings call. “We plan to experiment rapidly and plant many seeds because we see this opportunity as very large and still very early in terms of maturity.”

AR we there yet?

A lot of Snapchat’s augmented reality innovation has focused on filters. Just last week, Snap partnered with Virgil Abloh’s Off-White to create AR lenses for mask try-ons. But the Screenshop addition, which relies on static images, could be a way for Snap to gain more attention from clothing brands. 

According to industry experts, turning clothes into AR can be a challenge. While hats, sunglasses, watches and shoes are fairly straightforward to create for a virtual try-on. However, a pair of pants or a dress is more difficult because of different body types, movement, and the increased need for detail.

“With AR try-ons, the face and the foot are easier to track, but body tracking is more challenging,” said Mike Cadoux, gm of QReal.

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