Snapchat AR, and How SMBs can Take Advantage

Kaleb Stropkovics
Oct 30, 2018 · 5 min read

Your phone is everything. It’s a credit card, a camera, an alarm clock, a search engine, and now, an augmented reality item scanner.

Can I get a price check on aisle four? Yes, I can.

Snapchat recently announced a new feature that will allow users to point their cameras at items that they can buy on Amazon. Strange right? First we had window shopping, then we had e-commerce, and now we have…what do we have? We have Shazam for stuff.

What Does Snap’s “Visual Search” Feature Mean for SMBs?

Recent news from both Amazon and Snap is severely creepy. No offense. Maybe I’ve seen too many Sci-Fi flicks, or read too many books involving social commentary. Not only has Snapchat entered the retail arena with the release of their new Spectacles, they’ve also made a huge jump into e-commerce by signing with Amazon. Is this not in a Black Mirror episode? I’m 99% sure it is.

Seriously, those glasses though. We’re finally catching up, James Bond.

Snapchat’s new feature, Visual Search, is claimed to work similarly to Shazam. Once the app recognizes the item you’re pointing at, an Amazon link appears on your screen. Snapchat’s news blog calls it “super easy to use. Simply point your Snapchat camera at a physical product or barcode, and press and hold on the camera screen to get started.”

Amazon and Snapchat. How did these two companies come together? This is the coolest collab since bread and butter, or maybe since JT featured Jay Z on “Suit & Tie.” Amazon is playing the B2B field hard, and has now made a huge step that will only benefit both parties, as well as SMBs.

Team Snap released the information on September 24, concluding that “Snapchat has always been the fastest way to communicate, and now it’s the fastest way to shop!” And they’re not wrong. I think of shopping as fighting the irresistible urge to buy things as I see them. But to others, shopping means comparing prices and finding the best bang for their buck.

So what does it mean for SMBs? It could make prices easier to compare, which is very consumer-friendly. Anyone with a decent data plan (or with access to your wifi) can now scan items on your shelves to get an instant comparison. When using the Snapchat feature, an Amazon link will pop up on your screen and give you options for items related to your search.

They’ll also have the ability to order items from right where they are…in your store. Watch out!

How B2B Can Transform Your Small Business

More likely, this could only mean good news for you. It’s free marketing. This innovative move is in line with Amazon’s recent development involving SMBs, Storefronts. It’s a specific section of Amazon that only promotes SMBs.

But, is there something fishy about arguably the biggest e-commerce and cloud computing company in the world willingly implementing SMBs into their site? Maybe Amazon partners recognize the importance of cultured and trendy SMBs and are eager to develop alongside them.

I’m not saying you should be worried about your business being overshadowed by Amazon (or am I?), but if you are, here are some tips to keep up.

It’s strange and exciting that we can shop using our phone cameras. Why would I ever leave my room? Ever?

Think about it. What’s (at least) one thing that online shopping can’t give customers that your retail business can? Except for Prada Marfa, retail storefronts rely on real-life, flesh-and-bone visitors. And who wouldn’t want to see your smiling face? Not to mention, your products in-person.

I still have personal favorite shops and store owners. I appreciate customer connections and look forward to face-to-face interactions. I still have questions and enjoy bartering (what year is it again?). I still need to try on clothes due to my disproportionate figure (basically andre the giant meets jack skellington). I don’t trust any pant length, so I’ll see you inside.

Some things just can’t be replaced.

Making your in-store customers feel valued is itself invaluable. There’s more you can do besides fixing pant lengths, though.

If you’re already connected with Veem, international business is probably nothing new to you. You’re tied in with overseas suppliers and manufacturers. Amazon might seem like a business monster, but it doesn’t have to consume you. Instead, it can connect you with consumers globally. Your business might master the local area, but why not cover as many channels as possible? If you don’t, somebody else will. Amazon’s global reach can only aid you if you’re on board. If you’re not, it may seem like a threat to your business.

There’s nothing new about needing to keep up with technology and be adaptable as a business owner. That’s one of your stronger features. Keep your mind open. Keep your doors open.

Besides, Amazon’s website states that half of the products sold on their site comes from SMBs. Your SMB should take advantage of all available resources. Snap and Amazon certainly are. Snap has clearly recognized their digital resources and has identified the value of business connections.

Amazon has been using phone cameras in terms of object recognition, barcode scanning, and AR for a while now. Merging with Snap is just another way Amazon has innovated and kept up with digital trends.

What Might the Future Hold?

As one of the most successful companies ever, Amazon has seemingly unlimited resources. But the ball is now in your court. Snap has developed freakishly fast. A company infamously associated with dog filters and nefarious photos is now paired with the richest man in the world.

Both Snap and Amazon present wholesome values. Snap claims to “contribute to human progress by empowering people to express themselves, live in the moment, learn about the world, and have fun together,” while Amazon claims to help “empower so many small businesses, not just in the US, but around the world.”

The pairing of these two values sounds good for SMBs and consumers alike. We at Veem appreciate connections. Why not invest in a global online market and access an international community?

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