You’re walking down the street in Stan Smiths, shrunken jeans and an oversized tee that was cool five years ago. Then: it happens. A gift from the Gucci gods strolls out of the train station. You’re not one to ‘steal’ looks but you know inspiration when you see it. You make a mental note of this guy/girl’s outfit, determined to add it to your internet shopping list. However when you search for it the next day you can’t find it.
Luckily, there’s now a way to avoid this. Your bank account may not thank you—and you might look a liiiitle bit creepy—but Snapchat has the solution to your fashion woes. In a rare partnership with Amazon, Snapchat plans to challenge Instagram and Pinterest’s e-commerce platforms, officially announcing (yesterday) the roll out of a new “visual product search feature,” called Visual Search.
This means you can use Snapchat’s camera to subtly scan your fashionable mate’s shoes (or if you’re at the shops, the barcode of an item you want to buy cheaper online), which brings up a card showing that item and similar ones along with their title, price, thumbnail image, average review score and Amazon Prime availability. When you tap on one, you’ll be sent to Amazon to buy it. Unfortunately for us Aussies: it’s rolling out in the USA first, but if it succeeds we could be seeing it here soon.
Snapchat have not disclosed whether they are earning a referral fee. However a Snap spokesperson told TechCrunch the motivation is more to do with the added utility this feature lends the app, “As Snapchat wants its camera to become the new cursor—your point of interface between the real and digital worlds.”
Business indicators suggest this is a smart move for the photo sharing app. Snapchat’s younger user base is more likely to buy online than any other demographic, and—more importantly—this partnership will enable it to outsource technology building to compensate for its recent financial losses (Snapchat spent $353 million last quarter, and lost 3 million daily active users).