Instagram has debuted a new augmented reality shopping experience with a few brands in its checkout process. The new AR experience is powered by Facebook’s Spark AR.
Instagram’s Checkout was incorporated just a year ago and enables users to easily purchase products off the Instagram platform with relative ease. The new augmented reality integration into the shopping experience is aimed at refining the shopping experience for those who prefer shopping on Instagram.
Instagram has partnered with those brands that sell their merchandise directly on the platform with an AR try-on feature. The new AR feature will allow users to virtually “try on” on the products, experience and interact with them before they decide to make the purchase. When checking out the products on Instagram, users will be provided with an option to try them out in augmented reality. Instagram is also hoping that this will have a viral effect with users sharing their AR experiences with others through Instagram Stories.
Many of these brands are top fashion brands that have embraced Instagram shopping such as MAC Cosmetics, Ray-Ban, NARS Cosmetics and Warby Parker. The new feature will enable customers shopping these brands to virtually try on the various styles and colors of either eyewear or makeup directly through the shop pages, feed posts or on those brands’ Stories or profiles by using the latest version of Instagram’s mobile application.
Instagram camera has the variations picker that allows shoppers to pick and try on various colors and if they wish to, the users can continue with the transaction and purchase the product directly through the Instagram camera. There is also the option to share the product through the Stories and to recommend through Direct messages to friends.
The AR feature is for the moment only limited to the few brands mentioned above. Ecommerce is not necessarily Instagram’s business model but Facebook is hoping to leverage its success to better attract customers in the future. Facebook regards ecommerce as one of the “big bets” for the Instagram platform.
Many consumer brands have long valued the strategic importance of Instagram as a marketing platform even before the app incorporated its own shopping/checkout funnels. Instagram remains an important platform for product discovery especially when it comes to various lifestyle products such as beauty and makeup. The platform has an impact on conversions/purchases both online and offline.
Adding its own shopping features with enhancements such as augmented reality effects may go a long way in capturing users’ attentions and driving conversions for retailers marketing their products through the platform.