- Snapchat added a shopping channel to the Discover section of the image-sharing app, just in time for the holiday gift-buying season. "Shop and Cop" lets mobile users browse merchandise and buy directly in the app instead of being directed to a separate website, Adweek reported.
- Snapchat will offer deals from about 20 brands beginning on Black Friday and ending Cyber Monday. Kylie Cosmetics, TourLife, Chinatown Market and Coco Breezy are among the brands that will reveal discounts and exclusive items on the platform every few hours.
- Gymshark, a U.K. online retailer of fitness clothing, was the first merchandiser to sell its products on "Shop and Cop," which relies on Shopify's e-commerce platform to handle orders. Gymshark offered 50% discounts on select items for two hours on Nov. 16 and will roll out its Black Friday deals on Nov. 19.
Snapchat's addition of a dedicated shopping channel on Discover, which also hosts professionally product content and posts from social influencers, is part of parent company Snap's stronger push into social commerce. Snapchat in June began testing self-serve shoppable ads, later renamed as Collection Ads, before expanding them to more marketers. Snap also recently added a visual search feature that lets people use the app's camera to search for items on Amazon.
The new shopping channel arrives as rival Instagram last week added three shopping features to help users complete a purchase directly in the image-sharing app. A shopping collection section lets shoppers bookmark items to buy later, while shoppable videos and a shopping tab on business pages provide people additional ways to discover and buy items on the social site. In September, Instagram reportedly began developing a standalone shopping app.
However, Snapchat's appeal among teens who don't have access to electronic payments may limit the company from cashing in on social commerce, but mobile shopping is forecast to be popular among Generation Z. Half of the age group plans to complete all their shopping online using a smartphone, according to PwC's annual survey of about 2,000 consumers. Among the broader population, the percentage of online consumers who will use a smartphone to shop will grow to 16% this year from 12% in 2017. Even more encouraging for mobile marketers, consumers will boost their holiday spending 5% this year to $1,250 on gifts ($693), travel ($361) and entertainment ($196). Social media companies like Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat are set to benefit from the 39% of all shoppers who will use "buy" buttons on their smartphones and 25% who click on shoppable photos, according to PwC.
The effect of the Snap's social commerce efforts won't be known until the company reports Q4 earnings, likely by early February. The company's revenue grew 43% to $297.7 million in Q3 2018 from a year earlier, mostly from advertising. Snapchat lost 2 million users from the prior quarter to end Q3 2018 with 186 million, with CEO Evan Spiegel blaming most of the decrease on the Android version of the image-messaging app.