What to expect from Snapchat’s e-commerce platform

Social commerce has long been talked about as the Holy Grail of marketers wanting to join the dots between engagement and the bottom line.


Consumers have experienced various iterations of social commerce, from full stores on Facebook to purchases being enabled directly from tweets, but most are yet to cut-through. Enter Snapchat.

Facebook and Twitter may be playing catch-up with adapting their platforms to retailers’ needs, but rival Snapchat started life in a much more ecommerce-friendly format.

The popular platform launched as a self-contained walled garden. Even well-established media brands are required to build bespoke channels within the platform, which has in turn created an enclosed, trusted ecosystem – perfect for its rapidly growing user base.

Stats from Snapchat reveal that the app has more than 100 million daily users who spend an average of 25 to 30 minutes on the platform, consuming eight billion videos each day. A staggering 41% of 18-24s in the US now use Snapchat daily.

The young audience is ripe for online retail. We know that Millennials are more likely to purchase via mobile, 13% of 18-34s completing their path to purchase on mobile devices, compared to 1% of 35-64s (Emarketer 2015).

Snapchat is wise to the behaviours of its audience and is fast-developing its own ecommerce platform, as confirmed last month by Joanna Coles, the editor in chief of Cosmopolitan and a member of Snapchat’s board of directors.

With this in mind, what should we expect to see?

Increased interactivity

It’s likely that we’ll see more interactive ads allowing users to explore content or to purchase products. This would be particularly effective where there is a hero product (e.g. a limited edition) or a time sensitive offer, as these would suit the ephemeral nature of the platform.

Shoppable content

With brands like Hearst and MailOnline already on-board, we should expect to see inspirational content translate into sales. Increasingly, media brands are curating content such as “shoppable edits”, this in turn delivers more opportunities and a strong proposition for brands when it comes to exploring partnerships within the platform.


Snapchat enabled payments early-on. In 2014, the platform launched its “Snapcash” payment feature, which enables users to send and receive money through the app. At least to begin with, users are unlikely to be spending heavily on Snapchat – think spontaneous purchase and low ticket items.

Mass adoption of in-app purchase

Although Snapchat’s in-app purchase opportunity is very much millennial focused in the near future – what we know from the adoption of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and music streaming services, is where millennials go, the rest of us follow closely after.

If social commerce within Snapchat is readily adopted, we should expect this to be a mainstream behaviour very soon.

As more routes to purchase are explored, brands must stay ahead of the game by striving to be where their audiences are or anticipating where they will be.

The brands that match the user experience with the user behaviour most closely will win in the long term.

By Gabrielle Sillars, the7stars