After trying out hardware in the form of Spectacles camera glasses, Snap Inc. is now experimenting with a different form of sales — in-app merchandise. That’s right, now you can buy that dancing hot dog plush toy you never knew you wanted, all without leaving the app. On Thursday, February 1, Snapchat added the Snap Store to the Discover section, allowing for in-app purchases on anything from plus toys to sweatshirts.
The Snap Store is inside the app’s Discover section. Tapping on the new Snapchat Store opens up a Story-like Store experience. The first images tell users how to use the store, with a warning that items can disappear at any time.
After the intro, the Snapchat Store continues with the Story Style format by displaying animations of the product. Users can swipe up to see the full product description and price in the storefront. Tapping and holding on the image allows users to send the product to friends, while a single tap moves on to the next item. True to that Stories format, users can also subscribe to the Snap Store to stay up to date on the store’s latest items.
The Snapchat Store currently only features Snapchat-themed merchandise from a “hot streak” hat to a winky face sweatshirt. The in-app option makes shopping feel more like using Snapchat rather than a long process of shifting through products online.
Snapchat hasn’t said whether or not the store will eventually feature products from third-party companies, though Stories-like shopping could be a way for other companies to get their merchandise in front of Snapchat’s younger audience. With the storefront programming built, it’s not too difficult to imagine launching shop-able Stories to advertisers, but again, Snap Inc. hasn’t suggested any expanded plans for the store. The app does save payment information to use on later purchases inside the Snapchat store.
Snap Inc.’s Spectacles was the company’s first move toward physical products. While initially well-received, and generating lines around the exclusive vending machines at the initial launch, the company later overestimated demand and took a loss on unsold camera glasses.
The store option comes as Snap Inc. is looking to please investors after a disappointing first year on the stock market. The company is also rolling out a redesign intended to make the platform easier to understand for new users. A new option to share Stories outside of the Snapchat app could also help expose the app to more potential new users — and of course, seeing a Snapchat t-shirt could possibly do some of the same.
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