Following Facebook Messenger’s example, Snap Inc. is testing the waters of e-commerce too. Snap Store is the in-app selling everything from dancing hot dogs to t-shirts with the famous ghost icon. But is it a strategy to gain user loyalty or an attempt to breathe new life into in-app commerce?
News of the digital store comes shortly after the launch of the latest Snapchat upgrade, when it completely overhauled the app interface. But abandoning the old way for the new isn’t always positive. Data from TechCrunch shows that the app’s redesign brought in a flood of negative feedback. Not only that, but compared to market prices in March 2017, the value of Snapchat stock had dropped by half, probably due in part to fierce competition by Instagram and Facebook stories (and now Google too). The numbers show that over the course of the past year, Snap faced a $3.4 billion loss, but e-commerce could be the key to reviving the company—especially if Snapchat manages to show the potential of in-app stores. So their aim is now to increase the 17+ audience, which can also increase profits from advertising.
How Snap Store works
The business of selling swag isn’t new for Snap. Don’t forget the dancing hot dog halloween costumes being sold on Amazon, or all the backpacks and towels with their iconic ghost. But the in-app store, currently only available in the United States, is still a novelty for Snapchat. Look for it in the Discover section of the app. As soon as you open it, a video clip shows the first item for sale: a ghost plushie. To buy it, just swipe up, click ‘add to bag’, and voila. To keep shopping, you need to go back to the video to see what else the digital store has on its shelves. Ghost cube ice trays, dancing hot dog keychains, Snapstreak hats, winky emoji sweatshirts and baseball hats. But remember, just like Snapchat stories, all the goods can vanish from one day to the next. Take it or leave it.
So far the platform is only offering Snapchat branded merchandise ranging from $20-50. That’s because the main motivation right now seems to be to encourage user loyalty, and this is a way to strengthen the relationship with it users. It’s a sensible reason, considering that the company would have to sell a serious amount of stuff to make any significant profit.
Snap Store — like Facebook Marketplace
Is Snap Store Snapchat’s answer to Facebook Marketplace or Google Shopping? It’s definitely a fast way to get other brands involved, and earning a percentage through selling ads. That’s not all. The company can also profit from the huge amount of data it’s getting thanks to the Snap Store. In order to make a purchase, users have to enter their credit card details, plus billing and shipping addresses. And that’s not even considering credit card timelines, which are useful for personalizing ads, while knowing where users live can help Snapchat improve its geo targeting. The direction the Snap Store has decided to go will definitely help Snapchat become a more appealing platform for marketers. We can’t wait to see!
Nadeesha Dilshani Uyangoda
Editor freelance, blogger, attivista, studentessa. Lettrice ossessiva e scrittrice compulsiva. Italiana per cultura, srilankese per eredità — sempre a metà tra due mondi. Millennial che preferisce la carta, ma si adegua al digitale per paura dell’estinzione.