Snapchat's camera can 'scan' outfits to help you shop

·Senior Editor
·2 min read

At its annual Partner Summit event, Snap unveiled a slew of updates that will change how creators and brands use the service. The updates include several new shopping features, such as an augmented reality “try-on” services, as well as new “gifting” feature for creators.

On the shopping side, Snap showed off a number of tools that will make it easier for users to shop in the app. Snapchat’s “scan” feature, which already allows the app’s camera to detect food labels and Amazon products, is getting new shopping capabilities. A feature called “Screenshop” will recommend clothing items when you “scan” an outfit.

The company is also expanding augmented reality features that allow users to “try on” clothes, accessories and makeup. Snapchat has been experimenting with these kinds of features already, but the latest version allows users to control try-on experiences with voice commands and gestures. For example, you could ask to see a separate item in a different color or pattern.

Elsewhere in the app, Snapchat is adding two new “minis” — HTML5 apps that live within the app — that will enable new shopping experiences. One, for ecommerce platform Poshmark, will enable users to browse and buy products. The other, from Ticketmaster, allows groups of friends to find upcoming shows and buy tickets together.

The updates come as Instagram, TikTok, YouTube and others are also pursuing new shopping features. But while Instagram and TikTok have looked at adding shopping features to live video, Snap is eyeing the social aspect of buying. “We do think that ecommerce specifically is a really interesting category for minis, both now and in the future,” Snap’s Director of Product Will Wu told Engadget. “We're looking for new minis experiences that fundamentally enable new types of utility inside of Snapchat, that just didn't exist before.”

Snap is also leaning into creator-centric features to help higher profile users make money off its platform. Until now, most of Snapchat’s monetization efforts have centered around Spotlight, the TikTok-like feature that pays users for the most popular clips. That feature, introduced last year, has drawn 125 million users and will now be launching on the web.

Snapchat will allow fans to buy gifts for Snap Stars.
Snapchat will allow fans to buy gifts for Snap Stars.

But creators are also getting a new way to leverage their existing audience and make money from their followers on Snapchat with “gifting.” The feature allows users to buy stickers for Snap Stars. Creators will earn a portion of the revenue from the purchase and the user will be able to start a conversation with the Snap Star.

Snapchat is also launching a new app just for its creators with Story Studio, a standalone app that provides advanced editing tools, as well as analytics about what’s trending on the platform.