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Snapchat, Verishop Partnership Aims To Boost Lagging US Social Commerce Sales

Verishop is partnering with Snapchat to launch a social commerce experience within the popular image-sharing app, in a move that marks an escalation of an already intense arms race to expand eCommerce capabilities on social media.

Verishop Mini, which will live exclusively within Snapchat, will allow consumers to shop a rotating selection of fashion and beauty brands such as Bebe, Fifth & Nine, Kosas and Blume, while also utilizing Snapchat’s augmented reality (AR) feature to virtually sample products and accessories prior to purchase.

And, as is crucial in a social commerce experience, Verishop Mini will integrate directly with Snapchat’s chat feature so that users can share their finds with friends and family.

“The Verishop Mini makes it easy and fun for our community to shop fashion and beauty favorites expertly curated just for them, right alongside their friends on Snapchat,” said Alston Cheek, director of platform partnerships at Snap.

Verishop Co-founder and CEO Imran Khan is the former chief strategy officer at Snap. Khan partnered with Cate Khan, former senior vice president at Amazon subsidiary Diapers.com, to establish Verishop in 2019.

“We’re passionate about helping independent brands be successful and building features to help these brands connect with the consumer,” Khan said in a statement. “We’re excited to introduce Verishop to the Snap community, and will continue to extend our platform, as we have with this partnership.”

Other companies using Snap Minis to allow consumers to make purchases include resale platform Poshmark and movie ticket seller Atom Tickets.

Social Aspirations

The announcement comes just weeks after Verishop introduced livestream shopping to its own iOS app, adding more than 125 livestream shopping programs to provide users with 12 hours of live shopping per day. In late 2020, the eCommerce platform also added new social features, such as Shop Party, to its app, allowing consumers to share content and interact with other shoppers and brands.

Snap has also set its sights on social commerce, as it continues its evolution from a social media network to a super app that serves a multitude of purposes for consumers. Prior to the pandemic, Snap launched eCommerce developer tools and AR products to open a wider range of digital commerce for consumers. And in April, Snap acquired Screenshop, allowing Snapchat users to upload screenshots of outfits they like and get in-app recommendations for similar purchases.

Snap has a user base of over 265 million, primarily millennials and Generation Z users who open the app an average of 30 times per day. According to PYMNTS research, over 40 percent of consumers would be interested in a “super portal” that keeps track of shopping and payment data as well as connections with family and friends. Furthermore, 55 percent of consumers shop on marketplace apps more now than before the pandemic, and 34 percent say they now make purchases via mobile apps.

Tight Competition

Snap and Verishop are hardly the only ones looking to integrate eCommerce and social connections. In the past several months, Facebook began testing in-app payments on Instagram in the U.K. and expanded its Shops to Marketplace and WhatsApp, Pinterest expanded its shopping list feature to more countries, and Twitter has pointed to eCommerce as an important avenue to explore.

Additionally, Amazon now streams daily shows on fitness, makeup and cooking, while Walmart has started pairing up with TikTok to host live-streamed shopping events. And Facebook has launched “Live Shopping Fridays” with brands such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Bobbi Brown, Clinique and Sephora.

Still, there’s likely plenty of room for social commerce to grow in the U.S. According to eMarketer, retail social commerce sales will reach nearly $37 billion this year, or just over $11 per capita, but in China, where the trend has already caught on, sales will surpass $351 billion, or $251 per capita.

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