By Rodrigo Bonilla, Jeannette Tan, and Vee Tan

Snapchat introduces shoppable AR lenses

When Snapchat’s Sponsored Lenses were released in late 2015, brands could only use the feature as an awareness-building product placement tool, meaning users had no way to further explore, engage with or purchase from the brand.

This all changed last week when Snapchat announced shoppable AR lenses, allowing advertisers to drive further engagement directly through the sponsored lens. The feature allows users to visit a product’s site, buy the product, install an app, or view a piece of content simply by tapping a button above the lens – all without having to leave the platform.

Currently, shoppable AR lenses are only available for Snapchat media partners such as Adidas and Candy Crush. However, once the feature becomes publicly available, it could become a game changer for brands looking to advertise on the platform, as more than half of Snapchat’s users engage with the lenses feature daily.


Chrome now blocks autoplay videos with sound

Originally slated to be launched in Chrome 64 in January, the Chrome 66 browser now stops video with sound from autoplaying on any websites by default. This is to reduce unexpected video playbook with sound on the user’s first visit. However, videos that are muted or are without sound will still play automatically. Autoplay with sound is also allowed if the user has previously interacted with the domain.

This is part of Google’s larger plan to improve user experiences and giving greater control of playbook to users. This adds to the existing ban on video, pop-up, and intrusive adverts within Chrome on both desktop and mobile.


Valentino Debuts Alibaba Collaboration with a 3D virtual store

Valentino has partnered with Chinese giant, Alibaba, to launch a 3D virtual store on the e-commerce giant’s luxury shopping site, Tmall Luxury Pavilion.

The Luxury Pavilion is Alibaba’s attempt to create an online home for higher-end names, offering an exclusive shopping experience that is controlled by the brand and that syncs better with the designer’s own flagship stores. Valentino’s 3D virtual store also better caters to high-end consumers through a more tailored and personalised experience.

The virtual store will be mirrored in real life by a pop-up in Beijing’s fashionable Sanlitun district, as the two brands look to integrate the online and offline shopping experience.

The pop-up store not only provides an interactive space, but also an experiential-led approach to drive online to offline experiences, and vice versa. Ultimately, this Valentino-Alibaba partnership demonstrates how brands can collaborate to create more bespoke branded experiences that better engage consumers.