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Snapchat Adds ‘Catalog-Powered Shopping Lenses’ to Simplify AR Product Displays



Snapchat Adds 'Catalog-Powered Shopping Lenses' to Simplify AR Product Displays

Snapchat’s looking to take its AR tools to next level for eCommerce, with the addition of new ‘Catalog-Powered Shopping Lenses’, which will enable brands to showcase a range of products within a single Lens, providing more virtual try-on options for users.

As you can see in this example, the new option will make it easy for Snap users to quickly test out different products within a single Lens promotion, with each displayed item also including product details, including price, for direct reference in the app.

As it sounds, Snap’s Catalog Lenses will be directly linked to a company’s product catalog, providing more capacity for expanded product display in each campaign, while it’ll also help Snap deliver direct, product-aligned feedback to brands, in real-time. If you see that one product is getting more attention than another, for example, that could direct your further promotions, or inform your experiments to see what results you get.

The same process also provides Snap with more insight into what products each individual user is engaging with, which will help in its own ad targeting systems, improving the performance of campaigns.

Snap AR catalog example

In addition to this, Snap’s also looking to make it easier for more brands to create shopping AR Lenses, by updating its Lens Web Builder tool with new templates and tools to streamline the process.

Snapchat Lens Web Builder

As you can see in this example, the new tools will enable brands to build AR experiences by using pre-made functions, so you can point and click your way through the Lens creation process.

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As per Snap:

We’ve now made it so brands can generate a commerce Lens in as fast as two minutes and Beauty brands can do so in just a few clicks. At launch, this quick click accessibility in Lens Web Builder will be available to Beauty brands and will roll out to other product verticals in the coming months.”

That’s a significant advance, and really, represents the next stage for AR commerce. While there’s clearly value in AR promotions, with 71% of Snap users regularly engaging with its AR tools, and over 100 million consumers already shopping with AR, a key stumbling block for many brands, right now, is the time and resources required to build an AR experience, which really leaves such only within the domain of big brands.


But if Snap can democratize the process, by making it easier for all brands to participate, that could be very enticing for many retailers, and could see Snap’s ad options get a big boost from increased attention across the board.

It’s still in limited capacity right now, but it’s interesting to see Snap’s continued work in building simplified AR creation tools, which could help more businesses lean into the coming AR shift.

Which will be significant. Meta’s still working on its ‘Project Aria’ AR glasses, while Snap is also developing AR-enabled Spectacles, and Apple too is well-advanced in its AR wearables plan. One or all of these options is likely to catch on and become an essential accessory, and when that happens, you can bet that interest in AR will explode in many markets.

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Snap’s already ahead of the curve on this front, and if it can get these new additions right, it could be well-placed to make big money on the next big consumer shift.  

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New Screenshots Highlight How Snapchat’s Coming ‘Family Center’ Will Work



New Screenshots Highlight How Snapchat's Coming 'Family Center' Will Work

Snapchat’s parental control options look close to launch, with new screenshots based on back-end code showing how Snap’s coming ‘Family Center’ will look in the app.

As you can see in these images, shared by app intelligence company Watchful (via TechCrunch), the Family Center will enable parents to see who their child is engaging with in the app, along with who they’ve added, who they’re following, etc.

That could provide a new level of assurance for parents – though it could also be problematic for Snap, which has become a key resource for more private, intimate connection, with its anti-public posting ethos, and disappearing messages, helping to cement its place as an alternative to other social apps.

That’s really how Snap has embedded its niche. While other apps are about broadcasting your life to the wider world, Snap is about connecting with a small group of friends, where you can share your more private, secret thoughts, without concern of them living on forever, and coming back to bite you at a later stage.

That also, of course, means that more questionable, dangerous communications are happening in the app. Various reports have investigated how Snap is used for sending lewd messages, and arranging hook-ups, while drug dealers reportedly now use Snap to organize meet-ups and sales.

Which, of course, is why parents will be keen to get more insight into such, but I can’t imagine Snap users will be so welcoming of an intrusive tool in this respect.

But if parents know that it exists, they may have to, and that could be problematic for Snap. Teen users will need to accept their parents’ invitation to enable Family Center monitoring, but you can see how this could become an issue for many younger users in the app.


Still, the protective benefits may well be worth it, with random hook-ups and other engagements posing significant risks. And with kids as young as 13 able to create a Snapchat account, there are many vulnerable youngsters engaging in the app.

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But it could reduce Snap’s appeal, as more parents become aware of the tool.

Snapchat hasn’t provided any further insight into the new Family Center, or when it will be released, but it looks close to launch based on these images.  

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