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Can Snapchat turn discovery know-how into mcommerce prowess?

Snapchat’s reported plan to evolve its Discover channels into a commerce destination could transform the social media application into a one-stop platform for consumers, if it gets retargeting right.

Joanna Coles, a Snapchat board of directors member and editor in chief of Hearst publication Cosmopolitan, revealed that the Hearst-produced Sweet discover channel on the social application will likely become commerce-enabled in the future. The app is positioning itself to become an all-inclusive content and commerce destination, but Snapchat will need to deliver data on how to also re-target consumers on mobile elsewhere to become a full fledged commerce platform.

“If Snapchat is able to open its platform, I think we will see it to an extremely valuable e-commerce channel,” said Christian Brucculeri, CEO and director of Snaps. “Snapchat is a phenomenal discovery channel and has a massive engaged audience.

“However, it is not really a platform yet, it still looks a lot more like a media property because it is a closed ecosystem,” he said. “In order for Snapchat to effectively build an e-commerce product, it is going to have to productize its data in order to retarget its users off of Snapchat.”

Snapchat shopping
The Discover platform on Snapchat currently features a variety of news and entertainment providers with an in-app native version of their content. The Sweet channel was created by Hearst specifically for Snapchat and features a variety of spotlighted products each day.

In the future, the channel will be equipped with the ability for users to purchase these items directly within the app, announced by Ms. Cole while speaking at Re/code’s Code/Media conference.

In May of 2015, news broke of Snapchat reportedly investing in shopping app Spring, capitalizing on the growing popularity of conversational commerce (see more).

Snapchat is relying on a content-driven first launch for its new commerce angle, which is likely to be a successful strategy for the platform. Users expect a content-driven experience on the app, which means it likely will not push consumers away but instead excite them.

With mobile messaging on the rise and Snapchat’s place as a significant conversational destination, the retail integration has the potential for significant reach. But as of now the app lacks the ability for advertisers to track a significant amount of data and that will be necessary to move forward.

Mobile retail shift
The commerce push forward is also cognizant of the industry and consumer behavior as a whole. Consumers want a streamlined and convenient experience to purchase on mobile, and are also becoming more comfortable with purchasing on the smaller devices.

“Content and discovery is what Snapchat is all about,” Mr. Brucculeri said. “As a media network, Snapchat’s user experience will not be negatively affected by a content-first experience.

“It is exactly what its users would expect,” he said. “At Snaps, we have been focused on tying mobile messaging to commerce and we have built a number of solutions to help close the gap between engagement in messaging and actual purchase in retail.

“We believe that mobile is the future of commerce, and media channels like Snapchat and marketing platforms like Snaps are the future for bridging that gap,” he said.