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Snap Beefs Up Social Commerce With New AR Tools

Snapchat is beefing up its interactive features, particularly those focused on augmented reality (AR), to strengthen its place in the social commerce ecosystem, according to several press releases published by the company Thursday (May 20).

The tech platform announced a myriad of updates and tools to connect users with brands and businesses, and to boost creators’ capabilities on the platform.

With Scan, users can take a picture of an outfit or select a photo from their Memories to get shopping recommendations through Screenshop, a tech startup that operates like a “Shazam of fashion” that Snapchat recently acquired. The Scan button will now be featured on Snapchat’s main camera screen, furthering its commitment to connecting brands with users, one press release stated.

Businesses like Estee Lauder, FARFETCH and Prada are using Snap’s AR tools to create immersive shopping experiences for their customers, according to the release. Using AR, including Cloth Simulation, 3D Body Mesh and a Visual Effects Editor, they can offer consumers the ability to virtually try on clothes more realistically than ever, and to ask for adjustments to colors and items. Snap also updated its Lenses by adding machine learning (ML) that can understand and use audio to interact with users.

With application programming interface (API)-enabled Lenses, businesses can easily display their catalogues and add new Shopping Lenses that provide users with product pricing, availability and purchase options, the release stated. And brands can use AR Shopping Analytics to learn which styles, items and design details are most popular.

Snapchat is also diving further into AR for creators with its next generation of Spectacles, which allow creators to “overlay their Lenses directly onto the world,” according to a separate press release.

Spectacles use Snap Spatial Engine to track hands, markers and surfaces to essentially bring creators imaginations to life. In addition to built-in cameras, they come with microphones, stereo speakers and a touchpad for multi-sensorial experiences, the release stated.

Using Scan, Spectacles can suggest relevant Lenses to overlay on the world. Creators can take and send Snaps right on their Spectacles, according to the release.

“Spectacles aren’t for sale — they’re for augmented reality creators to reimagine the way we communicate, live and explore the world together through AR experiences built in Lens Studio,” the release stated.

Finally, Snap will be launching a feature later this year that allows users to connect directly with creators — Snap Stars, according to a third press release. Subscribers can reply to creators’ stories and send a gift via Snap Tokens to start a conversation. Creators will get a share of the revenue from the gifts.

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