As Global Director of Arcadia, the AR Creative Studio at Snap Inc. based in New York, Resh Sidhu manages a team of augmented reality (AR) pioneers who have helped make the platform the top one for sharing shopping moments. With over 250 million users who engage Snapchat with AR each day, Snapchat is key to making shopping experiences more relevant and engaging for consumers — especially younger demographic cohorts such as Gen Z.
For fashion and beauty brands that leverage the technology, the results are startling.
For example, in a Christian Dior Couture sneaker try-on campaign, the brand successfully drove sales to its website. And overall, their campaign, which included AR lenses and Snap Ads, drove a return on ad spend that far exceeded expectations – in addition to driving more than 2.3 million views of its Snapchat Lens!
At Ulta Beauty, AR shopping campaigns drove 30 million product trials and $6 million in purchases. At MAC Cosmetics, AR on Snapchat drove 1.3 million product trials at less than 1 cent per trial and with a 17X higher purchase lift among female shoppers. Gucci, LaCoste, American Eagle Outfitters, and other top brands, have also leveraged AR try-on Lenses to achieve similar results.
Here, Sidhu shares insights into what makes AR relevant to shoppers and how brands can leverage the technology to drive conversions and better engage consumers.
Fairchild Studio: What makes AR so appealing to consumers?
Resh Sidhu: AR is an infinite creative canvas and operating system for how we can explore the world,. Thinking specifically about fashion and beauty, it gives consumers the ability to explore their own sense of identity creatively and safely — and share those experiences with their close friends.
AR’s appeal also lies in its ability to democratize fashion and beauty for all, transforming ordinary experiences into extraordinary ones. Through AR, consumers are able to truly visualize, try on and share products with their friends virtually, creating a more convenient experience.
For Snapchatters, AR is not a learned behavior, it’s a daily habit. By 2025, nearly 75% of the global population will be frequent AR users – a clear indication that AR is moving from entertainment to a utility.
Fairchild Studio: How can AR be leveraged by fashion brands and retailers?
R.S.: Snapchat has always been a window to the world, but as James Baldwin famously wrote, a window is also a mirror. As Snapchat becomes a way in which we express and explore ourselves and our identity, we believe that brands can play a role in that exploration. The immersive nature of AR means that the type of connection built between a Snapchatter and a brand goes far beyond anything we’ve seen before in advertising.
So of course, it is still fun, expressive, and playful, but augmented reality also contributes to impactful ROI and is having an impact all the way through the funnel. Snapchatters who experience AR try-on Lenses are 2.4x more likely to purchase. AR try-on Lenses create an experience that you don’t easily forget while driving action and building a stronger relationship between your brand and our Snapchatters.
Fairchild Studio: What is the overall value proposition for brands using AR?
R.S.: The store changing room has always been a place of self-exploration – with AR, we’re taking something good, and making it better. Creating an experience where a brand can establish an intimate relationship with their customer, and help them to explore their sense of identity.
AR also blows open the scale of the changing room – there’s no ten item limit with AR, instead Snapchatters have the whole product portfolio at the swipe of a finger.
AR improves the customer experience, increases conversion to sale through digital try-ons, and reduces the rate of product returns, which can help consumers make more accurate purchase choices and help the environment.
Fairchild Studio: How else is AR redefining the shopping experience, and what is Snapchat’s role in that?
R.S.: Today, AR has the power to transform the consumer experience in unimaginable ways for our community, whether it’s through product education, in-store experience, or digital try-on. Snapchat is building AR experiences that radically change how we interact with the world, and with each other.
Aside from higher conversion rates, branded AR experiences on Snapchat also see significantly higher levels of immersion compared to other marketing formats. Today, shoppers can virtually try on trainers, a pair of glasses or find the perfect makeup look for their next event.
Fairchild Studio: How do you see AR helping fashion apparel and retail evolve? What’s next for Snapchat and the industry?
R.S.: In the near term, we believe increasing accuracy of ML and visual recognition will mean that consumers will be able to find a product that’s the perfect fit for them. Additionally, we believe brands have the opportunity to grow brand affinity through AR. Snap AR offers brands the chance to share their message in an interactive way, inviting their audience to be active participants and co-creators in their story. —
As we explore new applications of AR, we hope to expand our AR capabilities beyond fashion and retail to various partners across industries to continue democratizing personal and interactive experiences.