We’re in Santa Monica covering Snap’s Partner Summit. Follow Electric Runway on Twitter and Instagram for real-time updates.
In the past few years, Snap Inc. has made its plans to double down on the augmented reality category more explicit than ever. At Code in 2022, CEO and co-founder Evan Spiegel told Kara Swisher:
“Augmented reality is an enormous driver of our business, engagement, and revenue today and will continue to be in the future because it’s really at the core of what computing is going to look like in the long-term”
At its Partner Summit in Santa Monica, the company showed use cases for its technology that may be ephemeral in nature, but promise to have massive staying power for retail. Here’s what you need to know:
More ARES News
Late in March, we told you about ARES, Snap’s enterprise solution for retailers. Known as Shopping Suite, this set of tools enables merchants to harness the best of Web 3 innovations, including 3D visualization, augmented reality try-on, and AI fit prediction in their owned-and-operated apps and websites. Snap used its Partner Summit as an opportunity to show Shopping Suite in action. Attendees were taken through a fit predictor tool powered by Fit Analytics, the software startup Snap acquired in April of 2021, as well as a series of AR try-on experiences for apparel and accessories.
In addition to Shopping Suite, ARES is now offering AR mirrors, which brings augmented reality technology for shopping and entertainment to physical screens, allowing consumers to see themselves try-on and interact with products in real-time. I tried on a pair of Nike Air Force 1s, a Dior jacket, and a red off-the-shoulder dress from Stella McCartney all without a trip to the fitting room (and without a retail attendant waiting on me).
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“AR Mirrors will help customers shop faster, smarter, and bridge the gap between the online and in-store shopping experience” — Jill Popelka, Head of AR Enterprise Services (ARES) at Snap Inc.
Smart mirrors aren’t exactly new, but they’ve never been more fun and capable of providing an entertaining and gamified experience.
Snap unveiled a prototype of an AR-enabled Coca-Cola vending machine, which transforms the surface of the traditional vending machine into a digital display and offers customers a way to immerse themselves in the brand with filters, rewards, and more.
Snap also announced a feature called Garment Transfer, which gives developers and lens creators the ability to turn static images into AR lenses using Lens Studio.
“This new AI-powered technology allows you to upload a single image of someone wearing a t-shirt, for example, and point to anyone and using the live camera you can render that t-shirt on someone else instantly” — Carolina Arguelles Navas, Head of Global AR & Product Strategy for Snap
To date, 1.7 billion Bitmojis have been created (Bitmoji are Snap’s personalized avatar creation tool).
Over the years, Snap has partnered with notable brands to stock the virtual closets of its Bitmoji Fashion Marketplace, including Ralph Lauren, Nike, and more recently Ugg. At SPS, the company announced new research that shows a correlation between how people dress their avatars and how they dress themselves. According to Snap, 74% of Bitmoji users dress their avatars with the same brands they wear in real life.
While other avatar ecosystems like Genies may have made more noise the past few years, Snap’s recent numbers on Bitmoji remind us that they are the most popular avatar company ever. In comparison, Second Life, the online interactive platform, has only seen 73 million accounts since launching in 2003. Other popular gaming platforms like Roblox and Fortnite see 214 million and 80 million monthly active users respectively.