Amazon has been helping users find products with their phone cameras for a while now. In 2010, the company launched a barcode scanning feature in their iPhone app, allowing customers to quickly identify a product on the go. They upgraded the feature in 2014, introducing an image recognition option that allowed users to snap a photo of a product, and immediately be shown the corresponding Amazon listing. Just a few months ago, the iOS app was upgraded again with a “part finder” feature, helping shoppers identify replacement parts, such as screws and bolts, for DIY projects. Now, Amazon is tearing down the walls surrounding their own app, partnering with Snap Inc. to add image recognition shopping to Snapchat.
Snapchat has been struggling to keep up with competitors such as Instagram and Pinterest, which have both experienced success with integrated shopping features. Now, thanks to a partnership with the country’s largest online retailer, Snap is looking at new opportunities to win over consumers. The feature works very similarly to its Amazon app counterpart: a user opens up Snapchat, points their phone camera at a product or barcode, and voila, the Amazon listing pops up.
This could prove to be a smart move for both Snap Inc. and Amazon. While mobile commerce (and specifically social commerce) continues to gain traction, Snapchat has an ideal user base, which is “20 percent more likely to have made a mobile purchase than non-users, and 60 percent more likely to make impulse purchases,” as Techcrunch points out, citing studies by Murphy Research and GfK.
With the speed and simplicity of ordering on Amazon, specifically Amazon Prime, Snapchat’s mobile commerce options may prove more user-friendly than main competitor Instagram, which typically redirects shoppers to DTC sites. Assuming they’ve never ordered from the specific retailer before, users are then required to enter shipping and payment information, and will likely have to wait more than two days for shipping. As Amazon solidifies their position as the preferred online retailer, mobile shoppers may decide to lean toward Snapchat for their social purchases.