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Amazon 'fills social commerce gap' with Snapchat visual search tool

Snapchat has this week started offering customers the chance to use a visual search tool that links to Amazon.

Using the Snapchat camera, consumers can take a photograph of a product or barcode which will then prompt an Amazon card to appear on screen that surfaces a link for that product and similar items.

Once a selection is tapped, that user will be directed to the Amazon app if its installed on their phone or Amazon.com where they can complete a purchase or continue browsing products.

Snapchat said the feature will be rolled out slowly, but it “wanted to announce it to everyone at the same time”.

Patrick Munden, global head of retail at eCommerce consultancy Salmon, suggested the move brings a feature to Amazon that helps it further cement its relationship with younger shoppers.

“Amazon’s new visual search tool with Snapchat builds on what is a savvy and important partnership for the eCommerce giant,” he explained.

“Historically, Amazon has lacked a social commerce element in its offering, so teaming up with Snapchat to provide a search and purchase tool fills this gap.”

Munden said he expects to see more of these types of partnerships between social media and eCommerce companies, with Salmon research recently finding that 29% of millennials in the UK and the US use social media to actively purchase product and 87% are more likely to shop with digitally innovative retailers.

“It will be interesting to see how the new features will be integrated into Snapchat’s app and its user experience,” he added.

“Whatever the case, it represents another opportunity for Amazon to capture another section of the consumer market and further grow its already substantial foothold. And it’s just one more reason why traditional brands and retailers need to be delivering an innovative and effortless shopping experience, to keep up with the eCommerce giant.”

In a statement on its website this week, the social media site said: “Snapchat has always been the fastest way to communicate, and now it’s the fastest way to shop."

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