- Kay Jewelers, the chain with 3,600 stores nationwide, introduced a Snapchat World Lens to showcase several jewelry styles, in a first for the jewelry category, per a press release. Snapchat users can try on three different sets of layered necklaces in rose, yellow or white gold that appear in a selfie using augmented reality (AR), which overlays a digital image on a real background seen through a smartphone camera.
- The lens incorporates the brand's classic "kiss" through a "secret prompt," per the release. When the camera view is switched to the outer world, the Kay lens features an interactive game to catch and stack falling rings and bracelets for the chance to see a visual surprise at the end. Snapchat users who want to see the new lens can activate it by pointing their phone at the customized Snapcode.
- Kim Kanary, vice president of public relations and social media at Kay Jewelers, said in the release that customers like to research and browse for styles online while also having the chance to try on jewelry in stores. The AR lens aims to give people a way to combine those digital and in-store behaviors, she said.
The holidays are a crucial time for retailers to appeal to consumers who are ready to open their wallets for gifts and personal purchases, and Kay Jewelers' promotion on Snapchat is well-timed for Cyber Monday deals. Kay is the latest brand to embrace Snapchat's interactive World Lens,
Kay is generally very dependent on mall traffic, as many jewelry shoppers like to try on in stores. One challenge for the brand is that mall traffic has been squeezed by the growing popularity of e-commerce. Parent company Signet Jewelers, which also owns Zales and Jared, reported that same-store sales fell 5% in Q3 2017 from a year earlier, as hurricanes and disruptions to its credit application process dampened revenue, per the Financial Times. That means this holiday quarter will be especially important for the company, as the brand looks to innovative engagement tactics like Snapchat lenses and an interactive mobile AR game.
The National Retail Federation forecast Black Friday sales rising as much as 4% this year from 2016 (its tally will be released Tuesday, Nov. 28). Adobe Insights, which measures 80% of online transactions at 100 major U.S. retailers, said sales rose 17% to a record $5.03 billion on Black Friday from last year. Mobile, specifically, accounted for 61% of all online traffic on Thanksgiving Day this year, as shoppers placed 51% more orders on smartphones than last year.
While jewelry is a popular category for home shopping channels like QVC and e-tailers like Amazon, many shoppers still want the experience of trying on products before buying them. That’s especially true for high-end jewelry. Blue Nile, which started as an online-only jeweler, opened "webroom" stores that don't stock inventory, but let customers try on a curated selection of products before making a purchase on an in-store tablet for the products to be shipped to their home. Shoppers who visit a Blue Nile webroom spend an average of $7,500 on an engagement ring, the most popular jewelry category for the company, compared with $6,400 online, Quartz reported, pointing to the potential lost opportunity for jewelry brands moving entirely online or on mobile.