In September, Snap Inc announced their new innovative feature that will be rolled out across Snapchat soon, Visual Search. It is apart of their new partnership with Amazon. However, how does this differ from other in-app shopping features and how will this impact the behaviours of consumers, as well as the user journey?

Social shopping is something which has been developed on by many social media platforms recently, especially with the likes of Instagram releasing their ‘Shopping on Instagram’ feature earlier this year.

This post summarises how this Visual Search feature functions within the app but ultimately evaluates how this feature will impact the user journey, as well as what this could mean for Snapchat in the future.


visual search snapchat


Snapchat in Recent Years

The network’s recent extensions within its chat feature and developments across the app have made it easier for large brands to communicate with followers on a much more personal level.

However, in more recent times Snapchat has seen a decline in its user engagement. This is due to other social platforms developing similar features such as Instagram stories and Facebook stories.

Alongside this, it had also been reported that although many influencers flocked to the social platform within is early days. Many felt it was not accommodating to their needs as creators.

For the first time in Snapchat’s brief history, it saw a decline of its daily active users from 191 million down to 188 million.


Visual Search: The New Way to Shop Online

The announcement of the new tool was first published by Snap Inc on the 24th September 2018. They mentioned that they are ‘testing a new way to search for products on Amazon right from the Snapchat camera.’

This partnership with Amazon came as a shock to the market with many speculators not seeing it coming. However, the move seemed logical with Snapchat’s recent decline in earnings in the previous quarter. They are in need of innovation to remain relevant.

So, how does the app work?

Well, to be honest, it’s very much what it says on the tin. You will be able to point the Snapchat camera at any product or barcode it will be able to recognise the product and redirect you to the Amazon store.

The Visual Search feature uses Amazon’s machine vision technology to recognise logos, packaging and other identifiable marks to find the product you are searching for.

This is incredibly convenient for the user as it provides the opportunity for them to find products online that they don’t necessarily want to purchase immediately in-store. They will also be able to identify products on Amazon from almost any location.



Visual Search and Engagement of Users

Visual Search is an incredibly innovative feature and is likely to grab the attention of many users.

It will also possibly allow influencers to share products to their following in a more practical way, similar to the Shazam integration currently on the app. This function enables a direct link to the product being promoted, providing a much more simplified user journey.

This new integration is likely to lead to much more engaging promotions of products and ultimately it’s going to lead to the generation of more trackable sales.

We predict that this tool will eventually help users overcome language barriers when purchasing items within foreign countries.

However, the reality of the feature’s success will only become evident once we see a change in the behaviour of users. When we see a product or brand we like, instead of searching for that product online will we open Snapchat and use Visual Search to find and purchase what we are after?

This is also not the first company Snapchat has partnered with. They are also currently in partnership with Shazam which provides a similar feature to Visual Search but for music.

If visual search works in a similar way to this feature which also allows you to share the songs and artists you find with your following, then this could be incredibly beneficial at driven engagement within the app.

Snapchat stated that they want to turn the camera into ‘the new cursor’ and they might just do that! We will certainly be keeping a close eye on this feature as it rolls out globally within the future.


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