Snap is opening up its AR tools to retailers and businesses

Snap Inc., the company behind the video messaging app Snapchat, today announced the formation of a new division that will offer its augmented reality solutions to retailers and businesses so they can integrate them into their apps.

Augmented Reality Solutions for Business, or ARES, will allow businesses to customize Snap’s AR capabilities for their apps and websites to help them engage customers and create more immersive experiences.

Snapchat is already known for augmented reality experiences that allow users to see computer-generated content overlaid on the real world. With this technology, users can change their faces, add cartoon characters to their videos, and more. The company said more than 250 million people around the world use these AR features in their apps every day.

The first features available for ARES will be available to retailers, dubbed the Shopping Suite, which will include features such as helping users try on clothes virtually, determining fit and viewing products in 3D.

With access to these powerful tools, retailers can more easily sell clothing and other items to their customers, giving them the ability not just to view products, but to experience them virtually across web and mobile.

“For the past decade, we’ve worked hard to bring fun and personal AR experiences to Snapchatters,” said Jill Popelka, Head of ARES at Snap. “We look forward to bringing our best-in-class AR technology to businesses’ websites, apps and even physical locations over the next decade.”

The first feature available to retailers is Fit Finder, which uses artificial intelligence to provide shoppers with clothing size and fit recommendations. It can recognize shopping patterns and provide shoppers with a better and more customized fit based on what they’ve bought in the past, so they feel more comfortable with what they buy – since not all brands fit equally well.

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Snap also offers virtual clothing fitting that takes into account the shopper’s contours, shape, and unique body type with AR. Shoppers upload a photo of themselves and then use this feature to see what the clothing or product will look like when they wear it — or users can choose models that resemble their own characteristics.

It works with established product photography, so users can also see how glasses and shoes will look on their face and feet directly in the app via a virtual try-on. This feature was used in a partnership between Inc. and Snap that allowed users to try on different eyewear brands within Amazon Fashion.

Brands will also be able to use a 3D viewer, allowing buyers to fully visualize a product without having to click through a series of images. For example, they can take a closer look at sneakers, pottery, or stuffed animals and turn them over in an app with their virtual hands. This allows them to view the entire item as if they were in a physical store where they can get their hands on it.

These features come from a series of acquisitions Snap has made over the past two years, including 3D modeling company Vertebrae, Fit Analytics, and Forma.

Some of the first customers to use the ARES tool suite include womenswear and fashion retailer Princess Polly Online, sunglass outfit Goodr and Mongolian manufacturer Gobi Cashmere. Snap said after retailers integrated the AR tools, their customers experienced more conversions and fewer returns.

“The implementation of Snap’s shopping suite, specifically AR Try-On and 3D Viewer, resulted in overwhelmingly positive feedback from our customers and a significant increase in sales, bridging the gap between what our customers expect from their Goodrs and what they expect actual appearance,” said Stephen Lease, Goodr co-founder and CEO.

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