Snap Inc launches virtual mall on Snapchat

Snap Inc, developer and operator of social media platform Snapchat, has launched the first augmented reality-powered virtual mall in the Middle East and North Africa. 

Called Snap Ramadan Mall, the virtual shopping centre is accessible via Snapchat’s World Lens feature.  

The Snap Ramadan Mall aims to give brands the opportunity to use augmented reality and offers customers an immersive shopping experience.

“Snapchatters in the region are seeking inspiration for their shopping experience this Ramadan. Today, shoppers want an experience that is more than just transactional,” said Jake Thomas, head of Snap Inc’s UAE division. 

“While they expect the convenience and efficiency of online shopping, they also want a true-to-life, in-store experience.  

“AR caters to this need when accessed through universally available and always-on mobile devices – a game-changer for both retailers and shoppers.” 

The concept allows users to browse virtual stores and view products they can then purchase from the brands’ e-commerce sites directly accessible from the Snapchat app.      

Brands available on the virtual mall include L’Oréal, Al Futtaim IKEA, Namshi and Samsung.  

According to the company, retailers that advertised Ramadan campaigns last year on Snapchat’s augmented reality lens recorded average purchase values 4.3 times higher than campaigns using other formats.  

“Our virtual mall is the perfect platform, bridging the gap between the digital and physical world and offering consumers and brands the opportunity to explore the potential of digital commerce,” said Mr Thomas.  

“Catering to consumers’ needs during Ramadan, Snapchatters can browse from beauty and apparel, home and design and electronics brands at any time, wherever they happen to be.  

“We are confident that Snapchatters will enjoy this unique offering and explore some of the leading brands we have on board,” Mr Thomas said.