- PetSmart this week became the first pet retailer to use an augmented reality (AR) lens in a campaign on photo-messaging app Snapchat. The AR lens includes a quiz that gradually transforms a Snapchat user's face into a reptile based on their answers, parent company Snap said in an announcement shared with Mobile Marketer.
- The AR lens includes an offer to receive 40% off a pet reptile with the purchase of a PetSmart Thrive starter kit for people who are new to owning a snake, lizard or turtle. Snapchat users can bring the offer to a PetSmart store to pick out a pet and learn from an employee how to care for it.
- PetSmart's filter is available in the Snapchat carousel of AR lenses to select users in the U.S. and also can be accessed by scanning a Snapcode with the app.
PetSmart's AR lens aims to engage and educate Snapchat users with a gamified experience that includes a quiz about reptiles, while potentially driving traffic to nearby stores. PetSmart and Snapchat created the AR lens to partly substitute the in-store experience with many people staying indoors during the coronavirus pandemic. PetSmart has seen a 50% lift in reptile sales as homebound consumers introduce pets into their households, the retailer said. As Snapchat users take the quiz and share their reptile selfies with friends, family and followers, PetSmart can extend the reach of its campaign and urge others to interact with the AR experience.
The pet retailer is among its rivals in experiencing a hike in foot traffic during the pandemic's early days as consumers stockpiled supplies. PetSmart's sales jumped 36% in mid-March as lockdowns went into effect, per Earnest Research data cited by Retail Dive, a sister publication to Mobile Marketer. For the whole month of March, sales of pet supplies rose 10% from a year earlier, Nielsen found, pointing to one of the few growth areas amid slumping retail sales. PetSmart seeks to drive more store traffic with its AR lens on Snapchat that includes the coupon offer.
PetSmart is the latest brand to sponsor an AR lens, a popular feature in the Snapchat app. More than 180 million Snapchat users engaged with AR content daily in Q2, and the app has more than 100 million monthly U.S. users, per information provided by Snap. To engage those users, Microsoft's Xbox gaming platform last week debuted a dozen AR lenses on Snapchat to promote the upcoming release of its next-generation video game console. With many homebound folks placing delivery orders for food, DoorDash in May sponsored AR lenses that let Snapchat users immerse themselves in virtual versions of popular restaurant chains including Cheesecake Factory, Chili's and Outback Steakhouse.
The flurry of recent AR lenses is another sign that Snapchat is diversifying its appeal among advertisers as Snap monetizes its Gen Z and millennial user base. The company says it reaches more than 75% of U.S. consumers ages 13 to 34, and more than 90% of people ages 13 to 24. Snap this month reported that its revenue rose 17% to $454 million in Q2 from a year earlier, while its user base expanded by the same percentage to 238 million.