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Snapchat has a new way for retailers to introduce augmented reality into the store.
The news: At the Snap Partner Summit, Snapchat released AR Mirrors, which allows businesses to add augmented reality to in-person events and spaces. In shopping, this can be applied to add virtual try-on, create content that is part of the store experience and distribute guides and explanations that describe products in the store.
How is it being used? Snapchat shared a few examples of how the service is already being used:
Coca-Cola partnered with Snapchat to use AR Mirrors to reimagine the vending machine. Using hand gestures, shoppers can use hand gestures to unlock access to experiences and rewards.
Going forward, the companies have a long-term vision to build an AR ecosystem that transforms engagement across Coke vending machines, as well as the brand’s app and website.
Men’s Wearhouse added AR Mirrors to its store to help shoppers try on items and get more info as they prepare for prom and wedding season. For prom, consumers can try on clothes and accessories, as well as send photos to their friends. Drawing from product photography, the mirror uses deep learning and computer vision to adapt to each shopper's fit automatically.
What’s the key driver? According to Snapchat, brands that create innovative experience like virtual try-ons and in-store AR are 82% more likely to be recommended to others.
Where does this fit into Snapchat’s strategy? AR Mirrors are part of Snapchat’s AR Enterprise Services (ARES), which works with brands and retailers by offering a suite of shopping products. A few of the key business drivers it supports are improving brand loyalty, decreasing return rates, and differentiating in a competitive environment.
Additional components of Snapchat’s ARES Shopping Suite include:
AR Try-On: Shoppers can upload a photo and see what an article of clothing looks like on them, or interact directly with an accessory try-on from a product detail page.
3D Viewer: A visualization that shows a product from every angle.
Fit Finder: A feature that uses AI to provide fit and size recommendations that are unique to body shape and preferences.
Enterprise Manager: A front-end dashboard and back-end infrastructure that allows brands and retailers to create AR assets, implement the Shopping Suite SDK, create AR experiences, and manage catalogs, as well as access analytics.
Hands-on Integration Services: A Snapchat team that helps clients onboard and enable Shopping Suite features.
AR for Retailers: Snapchat continues to expand offerings in augmented reality, which is a natural fit for a platform that has a built in camera and the ability to superimpose images. ARES indicates that Snapchat sees an opportunity to not only integrate AR capabilities into its own platform, but build new products with others using this technology, as well. With AR Mirrors, Snapchat is demonstrating how digital tools can shape physical shopping. Increasingly, the conversation between online and offline is about creating tools to cross mediums, not serving them both separately.
Trending in Brand News
Campbell Soup Company CEO Mark Clouse offered thoughts on messaging amid inflationary shifts in consumer behavior.
After months of elevated inflation and interest rate hikes that have the potential to cool demand, consumers are showing more signs of shifting behavior.
It’s showing up in retail sales data, but there’s also evidence in the observations of the brands responsible for grocery store staples.
The latest example came this week from Campbell Soup Company. CEO Mark Clouse told analysts that the consumer continues to be “resilient” despite continued price increases on food, but found that “consumers are beginning to feel that pressure” as time goes on.
This shows up in the categories they are buying. Overall, Clouse said Campbell sees a shift toward shelf-stable items, and away from more expensive prepared foods.
There is also change in when they make purchases. People are buying more at the beginning of the month. That’s because they are stretching paychecks as long as possible.
These shifts change how the company is communicating with consumers.
Clouse said the changes in behavior are an opportunity to “focus on value within our messaging without necessarily having to chase pricing all the way down.”
“No question that it's important that we protect affordability and that we make that relevant in the categories that we're in," Clouse said. "But I also think there's a lot of ways to frame value in different ways, right?”
A meal cooked with condensed soup may be cheaper than picking up a frozen item or ordering out. Consumers just need a reminder. Even within Campbell’s own portfolio, the company can elevate brands that have more value now, even if they may not always get the limelight.
The open question is whether the shift in behavior will begin to show up in the results of the companies that have raised prices. Campbell’s overall net sales grew 5% for the quarter ended April 30, while gross profit margins held steady around 30%. But the category-level results were more uneven. U.S. soup sales declined 11%, though the company said that was owed to comparisons with the quarter when supply chains reopened a year ago and expressed confidence that the category is seeing a longer-term resurgence as more people cook at home following the pandemic. Snacks, which includes Goldfish and Pepperidge Farm, were up 12% And while net sales increased overall, the amount of products people are buying is declining. Volumes were down 7%.
These are trends happening across the grocery store. Campbell is continuing to compete. It is leading with iconic brands, and a host of different ways to consume them. It is following that up with innovation that makes the products stand out. Then, it is driving home messaging that shows consumers how to fit the products into their lives, and even their tightening spending plans.
Campbell Soup is more than 150 years old, and has seen plenty of difficult economic environments. It is also a different business today, and will continue to evolve. At the end of the day, continued execution is what’s required.
“If it's good food, people are going to buy it, especially if it's a great value,” Clouse said.