How Snapchat can boost e-commerce sales

Michael Kors has come up with a fun, smart use of Snapchat that may just solve one of the key issues brands are facing with online shopping.

While purchasing a bag online doesn’t necessarily require a fitting room session before hand, shopping for clothes or accessories you actually wear on our body usually does (let’s say sunglasses). To advertise for its Kendall II shades, the brand Michael Kors set up a Snapchat lens on June 27th, which just happens to be the U.S. National Sunglasses Day (apparently, there is such a thing).

Just like any other Snapchat lens, this one allows users to take a selfie and the lens filter sets the sunglasses on their nose! So Snapchat users in the U.S. were able to have fun virtually trying on luxury sunglasses on for 24h and sending the results to their friends. This campaign leveraged the whole hype around the National Sunglasses Day and mixed it with the overall enthusiasm for selfies among millennials, which in result created branded moments in young people’s exchanges with their friends.

The Kendall II sunglasses being relatively affordable for a luxury brand (they’re priced 149$), targeting millennials through one of their favorite apps was a great way to secure some top-of-mind brand and product awareness for the model as the summer holidays are approaching.

I believe fashion brands should create similar campaigns to generate engagement around their products in a fun way, that focuses on the users and their friends, rather than focusing on celebrities and products. While it may be hard to develop a lens filter, it is worth it in terms of awareness and feelings towards the brand.

Spontaneous and fleeting storytelling with Snapchat

Making us dream is part of luxury brands’ DNA. Their ads are conceived to trigger aspirations or emotions, and you end up endlessly idealizing the brand. These brands mostly leveraged traditional ads for a long time: print ads, billboards, TV spots… Then came the digital age and ads were popping on your favorite websites, especially as targeting techniques became more and more efficient. Social media were then yet another tool to promote brands’ messages.

Today, we are super-connected – so connected that it’s nearly as if we had a sort of digital “transplant” to our hand. Smartphones are kings. Obviously, pop-up ads are extremely annoying and having a 15-second spot of my favorite luxury brand wouldn’t make me happy when I’m opening an app. Social media help, as brands can post there – and Instagram is helping them push visual contents where customers are expecting – and enjoying – them. Still, non-spontaneous visuals are not enough to make a digital-savvy customer excited about a brand for long.

Valentino snapchat during the Paris Fashion Week preperation

Valentino snapchat during the Paris Fashion Week preperation

Communication apps are multiplying and new features come up. Brands are more and more welcome by apps to reach customers on their messaging channels. Line did it, and Snapchat, too. The big difference with Snapchat – as I’m guessing you know – is that contents are taken spontaneously (you can’t really edit them) and are fleeting (they usually last 10 seconds). Given these constraints, some luxury brands have decided to make the most out of the app and share some behind-the-scenes moments with their customers, as well as creating an exclusive customer experience on their smartphones. Valentino and Michael Kors did so during the fashion weeks. Snapchats are therefore a great way to share some extracts of a fashion brand’s preparation for a show. It’s applicable to any luxury industry I believe, as long as brands have a story to tell.

The main point I believe makes Snapchat such a great channel is that it’s usually a channel to connect with friends, and not many luxury brands use it. It’s probably one of the most appropriate tools at the moment to engage with customers as would a real person. It’s most effective when brands are targeting millenials, among which Snapchat has the highest penetration, and it allows brands to use a language they might not overtly use on more serious social media posts (e.g. using emojis millenials enjoy).