Snap Rolls Out Suite of Enterprise Tools Aimed at Enhancing Retail

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Over 250 million people engage with augmented reality every day on Snapchat, but a recent announcement by the app’s parent company indicates Snap Inc. is deepening its relationship with retail.

This morning, Snap revealed it will extend its technology and capabilities beyond its own platform by offering a suite of enterprise tools aimed at enhancing the retail experience with 3D, artificial intelligence, and augmented reality. Called ARES (AR Enterprise Services), the publicly traded company aims to bring its augmented reality tools into a retailer’s owned-and-operated apps and websites “to transform the way they engage with consumers and drive business,” Snap shared in a press release.

a ghost helping a woman shop online
Shopping online with Snap. Image generated with Dall-e

For those who have been following, you know that Snap has made significant investments in AR and AI in 2021 with the acquisition of Fit Analytics, a fit and sizing recommendation tool, and Vertabrae, a tool for creating 3D and AR commerce experiences.  Snap’s Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business model has already been tested by retailers like Goodr, Princess Polly, and Gobi Cashmere.

ARES’ first solution – “Shopping Suite” – brings together AR technology and AI-generated fit and sizing recommendations into a cohesive service, helping retailers improve brand loyalty, increase conversions, and decrease expensive and environmentally harmful product return rates. Shopping Suite supports multiple verticals – fashion, apparel, and accessories–  and includes five elements that make the customers’ online shopping offering more fun, immersive, personalized, and useful:

1)  AR Try-On: Shoppers can “try-on” new styles of clothing, footwear, and accessories in real-time through immersive features. This includes Image Try-On, which allows shoppers to upload a photo of themselves to instantly see how a product looks on them, and Live Try-On, which lets shoppers interact with AR experiences directly from product detail pages to their own body.

2) 3D Viewer: An interactive visualization tool that allows shoppers to see every angle and detail of a product.

3) Fit Finder: An AI-enabled technology to give shoppers fit and sizing recommendations tailored to their unique body shape and size

4) Enterprise Manager: An infrastructure and backend system to manage and create AR, making it simple to utilize Snap’s SDKs, create AR experiences, and manage 3D asset catalogs – all while seeing real-time performance analytics on how AR is driving consumer engagement and conversion

5) Hands-on Integration Services: Snap’s in-house team will help clients strategize and implement these solutions seamlessly.

The development and rollout of ARES is being overseen by Jill Popelka, a businesswoman with more than a decade of experience at SAP. “Over the last decade, we’ve been hard at work bringing fun and personal AR experiences to Snapchatters. In the next decade, we’re excited to take our world-class AR technology to businesses’ websites, apps, and even into their physical locations,” says Popelka, Snap Inc.’s Head of AR Enterprise Services. “We look forward to making the shopping experience more delightful for consumers and transforming businesses around the world with AR Enterprise Services.”

Snap Inc. says that more than 300 customers are already using some combination of Shopping Suite Features and are already seeing promising results, including an 81% uplift in add-to-cart and a 67% uplift in conversion for mobile device users, leading to a 59% increase in revenue per visitor, as was the case for sunglass merchant Goodr.

For Princess Polly, the issue was returns. Working with Snap’s Fit Finder and AR Try-On features, the apparel retailer was able to deliver recommendations to over 7.5 million shoppers and reduce return rates by 24%.

Shopping Suite shows that augmented reality as an enabling technology has matured beyond just dog ears and puking rainbow filters. And, at a time when retailers are in need of accessible solutions to keep up with the times, and advertising revenue models are being reconsidered across media, Snap’s focus on enterprise may just be the solution it needs to keep its stakeholders from ghosting.

Amanda Cosco
Amanda Cosco is a Fashion Futurist and the founder of Electric Runway