- Champs Sports is the first sportswear retailer to offer virtual try-ons of sneakers using a new technology in Snapchat. The augmented reality (AR) experience has seen an average share rate of 8% among users of the photo-messaging app, which is five times higher than the benchmark for average retailers, according to an announcement Snap shared with Mobile Marketer.
- As part of its "Refresh Your Game" campaign to promote the rollout of the Nike Air Vapormax 2020 Flyknit and Nike Air Max 95, Champs is using Snapchat's shoppable AR that lets mobile consumers see a digital image of the shoes overlaid on their feet before buying them directly with the tap of a "Shop Now" button.
- Hoka One One, Sally Hansen and Gucci are among the brands that have also created virtual try-on experiences with SnapML, a machine learning technology Snap introduced in June.
Champs Sports, a unit of Foot Locker, has seen encouraging results as the first athletic retailer to offer an AR shoe try-on in Snapchat, one of the most popular apps among young adults and teens. This points to the growing acceptance of AR to enhance shopping on mobile devices and social platforms. Snapchat users in the U.S. can start the Champs AR experience by selecting the branded lens in the app's lens carousel, or by scanning the retailer's Snapcode with the app's camera.
AR experiences are popular among Snapchat's 238 million daily active users, per data from the platform. An average of more than 180 million users engaged with its AR features each day in the second quarter of 2020, and its creator community has used Snap's platform to develop more than 1 million immersive lenses.
By creating an interactive shoppable experience on Snapchat, Champs can engage a target group of consumers who are most likely to buy Nike's latest styles, and who may be avoiding trips to shopping malls and stores during the health crisis. Shoe sales typically peak in early August during the back-to-school season, according to an NPD Group research analyst cited by Footwear News. However, the pandemic has led many school districts to delay reopenings or offer remote learning, upending long-established annual shopping patterns for millions of families.
While Champs is the first sportswear retailer to create AR try-on with SnapML, other brands have used the machine learning technology after Snap introduced it at its yearly partner summit. Hoka One One, the maker of athletic apparel owned by Deckers Brands, last month offered a mobile shopping experience that included an AR pop-up store and virtual try-on of running shoes. A week later, beauty retailer Sally Hansen used SnapML to let people virtually try on nail polish colors, including those from its new Marine Metals collection, WWD reported. Earlier this year, luxury brand Gucci sponsored an AR lens with a virtual try-on of four footwear styles, along with the "shop now" button for immediate orders.
Snap's reach is appealing to retailers like Champs that are seeking to reach younger consumers. The app reaches more than 100 million people in the U.S., including 75% of consumers ages 13 to 34 and 90% of people ages 13 to 24, per data provided by Snap. This reach, coupled with results like Champs', could encourage more brands to give the technology a shot as people increasingly seek out digital shopping experiences during the pandemic.