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Snapchat brings augmented reality in-store with AR Mirrors

The platform is reimagining the vending machine with Coca-Cola.

silver iPhone 6 on top of yellow wooden surface

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.

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