Is Snapchat toying with visual commerce?

It seems that Snapchat wants to venture into the world of online retail with a rumored visual search shopping feature.
11 July 2018

Is the popular messaging app taking aim at visual search? Source: Shutterstock

It seems that Snap is making efforts to turn around its ailing fortunes by offering the chance for users to shop using their camera.

This visual search feature was first spotted by an app researcher in the code of Snapchat’s Android app.

According to reports by TechCrunch, the new feature would allow users to scan, identify and purchase an item simply by using their smartphone’s camera via the Snapchat app.

Upon taking a photo of a product, the data would then be sent to Amazon, Shazam, and other partners, linking users to listings straight from the app. Presumably, Snapchat would take a cut of the profits from the purchases made by users.

The rise of visual commerce

The rumored Snapchat feature would stand as part of the growing trend of visual commerce.

Many big retail players have already introduced visual search capabilities. Source: Shutterstock

Big players such as Pinterest and Target have previously announced a partnership in which the US retailer has integrated Pinterest’s Lens visual search feature into their mobile app and desktop website.

The feature allows Target shoppers to take a photo of any product and use the visual search function to find matching or similar products on sale on the website.

eBay also has its own visual search tools. The “Find it on eBay” feature allows shoppers to share an image they found while browsing on social media with eBay to find similar products.

Snapchats efforts to win back users

While neither Amazon or Snapchat has commented on the visual search rumor, it’s probably more of a question of when the feature will be released than if.

The app has already partnered with Shazam with its song-finding functionality, and there is also an in-app shopping element.

This year, the company has been introducing a variety of new features for users. This includes the update of Snapchat’s spectacles, the introduction of AR gaming with Snappables, updates to the Snap Map, and more.

These features seem to be an attempt to win back the heart of users after the redesign of the app earlier this year caused an uproar amongst users.

The re-design set influential celebrities voicing their frustration on social media and saw shares of the company plummet.

But all could be turning around for Snap. The recent reporting of the possibility of Snapchat enabling visual search for Amazon product listings sent the company’s stock price up around two percent on Monday.

The new visual commerce rumor comes shortly after Snapchat has launched Lens Explorer, a new feature that enables users to search for thousands of augmented reality lenses.

With the launch of the Lens Studio app last year, the popular messaging app claims to have “the world’s most engaged and creative AR platform,” with over 70 million users engaging with them each day.