Between physical spending and virtual worlds lives augmented reality. AR is already opening new frontiers for people to experience products and share those experiences with friends and followers. Doug Frisbie, vice president of global business marketing for Snap, sees myriad ways AR will make shopping seamless and, more importantly, make sharing those experiences all part of the fun.
Matt Carmichael: How will interest in stories and experiences shape retail experiences, both in stores and virtually?
Doug Frisbie: The Snapchat Generation really values the connections with their friends, brands and the world around them a lot more than other generations. They expect brands and retailers to provide those immersive experiences that create those connections.
Carmichael: How do you expect AR shopping to fit into the larger retail experience?
Frisbie: We see AR following a similar path to e-commerce. If you look at AR on Snapchat, it’s evolved from just being an entertainment and self-expression opportunity to something that’s providing utility for brands and consumers to interact and transact in new ways. Today you can try on shoes, watches, cosmetics, jewelry and several other categories. In the future, we believe you’ll be able to shop for anything through AR.
Carmichael: How will that happen?
Frisbie: The first way that we enabled brands to provide that experience is through a singular Lens experience. But now you can actually experience all different types of brands in one place through a new feature called Dress Up, which allows you to look at all the best of AR fashion in one place.
Carmichael: How will AR evolve versus VR in audience size for customers and brands?
Frisbie: We think AR far exceeds VR from a customer experience perspective. In 2021, there were something like 11 million VR headset sets shipped worldwide. But on average, every day on Snapchat 250 million people interact with AR more than 6 billion times. We believe people are more interested in augmenting and experiencing the real world versus escaping to a virtual one. Brands have always wanted to invest where their customers are spending time and engaging.
Carmichael: In the creator economy, people trust creators. How can creators transfer that trust to the brands that sponsor them?
Frisbie: It probably depends on the customer, the influencer and the brand. There are all sorts of levels and sources of influence if we think about that kind of triad. As influencer marketing has proliferated you see a bunch of different ways that brands are engaging and ways that they’re influencing. We know that Gen Z and really all consumers look to their friends as much as they do influencers. The inherently social aspects of AR and the ability to share those AR experiences with your friends that are coming from brands is an important source of influence as well.
Carmichael: Traditional advertising is passive, but with AR and filters there are different degrees of engagement.
Frisbie: There’s also in some cases a delay. Traditional advertising, whether it’s a print ad or a TV ad, that’s a passive experience that’s then directing you to do something else. With AR, you’re able to experience the brand and interact with it right there in the moment. Marketers for ages have been trying to create ways for customers to see themselves in their brand. There’s never been a better way to do that than through AR. And that immediacy really delivers on customer expectations in a way that no other media has in the past.
Carmichael: Do you think today’s trends are linked to life stage or are they more generational?
Frisbie: Across generations people really expect and anticipate to engage with AR much more than they are today. Older generations are even more likely to see the utility value of AR, maybe because they haven’t experienced it as much as a social, fun way of interacting with their friends. But they do see that potential for it to play a role in things like commerce from a more utilitarian perspective.
Carmichael: What are some overlooked benefits?
Frisbie: AR has the potential to both impact the top and bottom line. We conducted research that showed that 66% of shoppers who use AR are going to be less likely to return their purchases. That has tremendous potential when you think about the cost and environmental waste that returns create.