Walmart’s efforts to grow its e-commerce sales recently entailed the introduction of shoppable augmented reality content on the photo-messaging app Snapchat. The retailer’s collaboration on the rollout of an AR lens seeks to inspire mobile users to make recipes with ingredients they have at home or can order from Walmart.

The Walmart “Snap Scan & Shop” lens lets Snapchat users scan food items in a refrigerator or pantry with a smartphone camera to generate a list of 10 recipes that include those items. Allrecipes, the cooking site published by Dotdash Meredith, provides the recommendations and the ability to buy additional ingredients from Walmart, according to information shared with sister publication Marketing Dive.

“The meal inspiration is intended to meet people where they are on their meal preparation journey on any day, whether that be by shopping in-store or online,” a Walmart spokesperson told Marketing Dive by email. “Through this activation, our goal is to shorten the distance between inspiration and purchase, however they choose to shop.”

The introduction of the shoppable lens comes as more consumers buy products through social media apps like Facebook, TikTok, Pinterest or Snapchat. That activity is driving growth in social commerce, the global revenue of which is forecast to jump from $492 billion last year to $1.2 trillion by 2025, according to Accenture. The consulting firm predicts millennial and Gen Z consumers will make up 62% of global social commerce spending within three years.

“Walmart continues to focus on identifying opportunities to meet customers where they are already spending their time, so it was natural for us to explore a collaboration with Snapchat, especially, for our younger shoppers,” the spokesperson said. “In fact, we know that Snapchat reaches 75% of millennials and Gen Z.”

Emphasizing convenience

Walmart’s collaboration with Snapchat on a lens that offers visual search features is another sign of how companies seek to offer mobile consumers greater conveniences. Other tech giants including Google and Pinterest have enhanced their image-recognition capabilities to help people shop for products they see online or while on the go.

“Leveraging an engaging Snapchat filter lens for mealtime inspiration [helps] to shorten the customer journey from discovery to purchase directly through Walmart.com,” the spokesperson said. “Ultimately, this collaboration will make it easier for shoppers to whip up delicious meals this spring quickly and conveniently.”

Convenience has become a greater imperative for brick-and-mortar retailers during the pandemic. The pandemic has pushed them to be more flexible and responsive to changes in people’s shopping habits. While Walmart stores have stayed open because they were deemed to be essential, many consumers were reluctant to shop in-person and potentially expose themselves to the coronavirus. Retailers have responded by either offering new services like curbside pickup or expanding their delivery capabilities.

Meanwhile, Walmart’s global e-commerce sales nearly doubled since 2020 to $73.2 billion in the most recent fiscal year, when total revenue reached $572.8 billion. The company has expanded its online marketplace to millions of products, including many offered by third-party sellers. By the end of this year, Walmart plans to expand the number of products listed on its website from 170 million currently to 200 million, company executives said during an earnings call in February.

Digital content and social engagement

Walmart’s shoppable lens in Snapchat follows a variety of other efforts to reach consumers through social media and other digital platforms. For last year’s holiday season, the retailer’s “Joy.Fully” campaign included shoppable livestreams and other content. Through a partnership with Facebook, it offered an AR lens that let people use facial gestures to select products that brought them joy.

As the shopping season ramped up, Walmart hosted a shoppable livestream on Twitter that featured a half-hour variety show with singer Jason Derulo. The program showcased a variety of products in the electronics, home goods, apparel and seasonal decor categories. To maximize visibility, the programming also was posted on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and the Walmart Live page.

The retail giant also has placed greater emphasis on food-related content to reach consumers who spent more time in the kitchen while working from home. The retailer last year collaborated with interactive video startup Eko to stream content from the Walmart Cookshop, its shoppable video hub for home cooks. In tests, the customized content drove click-through rates that were several times higher than benchmark levels.

The shoppable AR lens in Snapchat adds to Walmart’s ongoing efforts to engage consumers while also helping them to enjoy greater conveniences.

“At this time, we’re focused on this exciting activation as step one where we are bringing meal ideas to shoppers even faster than before,” Walmart’s spokesperson said. “We look forward to future opportunities to further engage our media partners and brands and will consider that as we look ahead.”



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