Snapchat Collaborates With Amazon In 'Visual Search' Test


Social media has drawn billions of people and organizations closer than ever before, especially when it regards to gaining access to information that involves the products that they like to purchase for personal consumption. Just like social media, e-commerce is a convenient platform for virtual shoppers who love to obtain the desired products without having to be physically inside a store.

One interesting combination between a popular social media company and a multibillion-dollar e-commerce cooperation happened is the collaboration of Snap, Inc., the parent company of Snapchat, and Amazon as the former is currently testing a way to scan products on its cameras that will pop up related links from the latter’s website. If the test is successful, Snapchat users will have the ability to scan any product they like that they haven’t owned and once the scan is maintained effectively, then the link that contains the product’s information, brand, and price will appear so that the Snapchat user will have an easy access when making an online purchase through the app.

As an app that is the most preferred social media platform used by teenagers and young adults, Snapchat’s collaboration with Amazon is likely to garner positive feedback from the former’s core millennial user base as the test, if successful, will save them a lot of time from going on their computer or even regular shopping stores to make a purchase. A quick scan of the desired products is all it takes to obtain the information they need so that they can make a final decision before purchasing the products.

Snapchat’s collaboration with Amazon is not the first time that a social media platform has made its presence in the e-commerce industry as Facebook’s Marketplace, its main e-commerce section, allows Facebook users to buy or sell their products from or to any individual or group that is considered reputable and also within the specified living area too. Instagram has also been involved in the e-commerce industry as it has allowed users to sell items through posted pictures or videos that other users want to purchase but Instagram executive Vishal Shah, who currently leads the app’s work with renowned global brands, stated that there is a potential for Instagram to have a standalone shopping app and that it is currently testing a shopping channel on the ‘Explore’ tab to see if that can influence users who want to spend money.

According to a blog post, Snapchat posted about the ‘Visual Search’ feature, Snapchat users can not only scan a product but they can also scan a barcode to equally obtain appropriate information about the desired product and the Amazon link will appear if the users press and hold on the camera screen. Once the desired product(s) have been scanned and related Amazon link appears, the users will have the chance to make their final purchase through Amazon’s website or on the Amazon app if they had already downloaded it.

The ‘Visual Search’ feature allows Amazon’s machine vision technology to help users find out about the brands that they have never been exposed to or hadn’t been aware of until the feature helped them gained the appropriate knowledge that is necessary to know about the products they’re about to purchase. The new feature, if officially released to the public, will help Snap, Inc. regain a lot of users and money that it had lost in the second quarter of 2018 as the number of users declined from 191 million users to 188 million users and the net revenue lost was $353 million.

The loss of revenue and users mainly attributed to Snapchat’s redesign back in 2018 in which many users were feeling dissatisfied at the new features that had made their app experience a complex task to accomplish. The new cooperation with Amazon in regards to the ‘Visual Search’ feature can help Snapchat regain the revenue and users it lost by allowing their users a variety of options they can use when making a purchase, especially as the feature would have to compete with Pinterest’s lens recognition feature and Instagram’s ‘Stories’ section that allows Instagram users to purchase products directly from it.

On the first episode of a podcast called ‘Pivot’, Recode Editor at Large, Kara Swisher, had interviewed L2 founder Scott Galloway, who previously predicted Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods, and he predicted that Snapchat would also become another one of Amazon’s acquisitions by 2020 as Snapchat still got a cap of $13 billion and that its stock will probably get cut in half again. In case if Snapchat does get acquired by Amazon, Snapchat would have to make the transition from Alphabet’s Google Cloud towards the Amazon Web Services cloud infrastructure system and since Amazon has been doing well in its advertising business, Snapchat can see its own advertising business be restructured and improved as an Amazon acquisition if the ‘Visual Search’ feature finally gets released to the public.

The ‘Visual Search’ feature currently being tested by Snapchat and Amazon has the potential to shake up the social media industry and also reestablished Snapchat’s reputation as one of the most popular social media platform since its position had slowly stagnated after the app got redesigned earlier this year. The cooperation between Snapchat and Amazon might lead to more collaboration between other social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter and China’s Weibo with e-commerce corporations such as Rakuten, Etsy, and eBay that may result in the creation of new visual recognition technologies that will enhance both the e-commerce and social media industries’ reputation for many years to come.