Is Augmented Reality the future of shopping? Snapchat and Etsy think so

Imagine you find a cool pair of sneakers online. Instead of going to the store to try them, you put on your AR glasses and have them projected onto your feet.

According to Snapchat‘s Head of Marketing, Jacqueline Rutgers, this is the future of shopping.

And it is seven times more powerful than influencer marketing.

Rutgers also stated that 94% of shoppers who’ve used any AR features say they would do it again.

Etsy seems to agree

Etsy just launched “The Etsy House”, an augmented-reality experience where shoppers can walk into a digital home filled with curated Etsy items.

The best part about this (for Etsy at least) is that the entire house is shoppable. When you hover over a specific item, a pop-up with a link to purchase will appear.

It’s not just about makeup: Snapchat will let users virtually wear t-shirts and hoodies

Augmented reality is evolving. Fast.

Snapchat announced that as part of its new integration with ComplexCon, Snap users will be able to virtually try on branded hoodies and t-shirts.

How the augmented reality “try-on” works

  • First, you select the t-shirt or hoodie you want to try.
  • After that, you position your smartphone camera so that it can capture your upper body (similar to how you would position yourself in a mirror).
  • And presto! Snapchat will show you how that hoodie looks on you (here’s an example video).

Far from perfect, but evolving

Back in March, Snap acquired a digital sizing company called FitAnalytics.

The purpose of the acquisition was to enhance Snapchat’s artificial reality product matches and measurements.

Though there is still a long way to go, things are evolving at a frighteningly fast pace.

For now, these Snap features are only available to large brands, but we expect them to be more widely available next year.

If you work in the fashion industry, virtual fitting rooms could be the next big thing going forward.

Why marketers will care

Well, who doesn’t want higher conversion rates?

It’s one thing to show a picture of the shirt you’re selling. It’s a whole other thing to show a real-time 3D model projected onto your shopper’s torso.

Be honest, which method do you think will sell more?

One of the biggest impediments to shopping online is not being able to experience the product. Clothing in particular is hard and sees an enormous amount of returns (just ask Amazon). Some still won’t buy clothing online, especially if it’s something they have no experience buying previously.

This is an area where AR could make a big difference in getting shoppers over the hump.

AR = Path for further Big Tech expansion

Augmented reality is also a way for big tech to expand their reach.

Facebook doubled down on in-app shopping after the announcement of Apple’s privacy updates.

When a user completes a purchase on their native Shop, Facebook tracks the entire purchase journey, harvesting the juicy data that turbocharges your campaigns. No need for third-party data over here, Apple.

And they’re not the only ones making the push towards in-app purchases…

Some other big names are already in the game:

And we’re pretty sure Pinterest is soon to follow. (It’s the last e-commerce oriented platform without this feature.)

Therefore, the question: Is in-app shopping going to take over?

Well, there are two opposite forces at the moment…

Force 1: Big tech is trying to vacuum brands onto their platforms.

Force 2: Companies are trying to rid themselves of the “big guys.” They’re building their email lists, SMS lists, content assets, and even creating their own apps.

Extended Reality (XR) and its future

Extended reality (XR) combines real and virtual environments through technology including AR, VR, and wearables.

Unlike virtual reality, XR has a huge number of potential commercial and industrial applications.

Even so, commercial demand for XR accounts for just 47% of current XR spending, with most coming from consumer product demand.

But the XR manufacturing space is set to overtake consumer spending and reach $35 billion by 2023.

What’s coming up for Extended Reality

Broader interest in extended reality has helped fuel the Industrial XR trend going forward.

Growing industrial and B2B XR startups include:


Nreal is a China-based XR startup that develops the “Nreal Light” lightweight mixed reality headsets.

The glasses cost $600 and are aimed at being a more affordable alternative product to competitors like Magic Leap and Microsoft’s HoloLens 2.

The startup raised $100 million in Series C funding in September 2021.


Labster creates virtual lab simulations for the university and high school markets.

The startup raised a €49.4 million round ($55 million) in February 2021 led by Andreessen Horowitz.


Varjo is known for its “dual-resolution displays” used for industrial design, research, training, and healthcare.

The XR hardware company raised $20 million in debt financing in late-2021, bringing it over $120 million is total funding raised.

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