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Humans and technology

Snap is launching augmented-reality mirrors in stores

It’s part of a massive effort to push the technology further into the physical world.

April 19, 2023
image of two women using an ar mirror at a nike store
Courtesy Snap

Snap is planning to launch augmented-reality mirrors that allow shoppers in stores to instantly see how clothes look on them without physically trying them on, the company announced today. The mirrors are going to appear in some US Nike stores later this year, and in the Men’s Wearhouse in Paramus, New Jersey.

The mirrors are part of Snap’s new effort to move beyond the AR lenses in its Snapchat app and start offering AR products in the physical world. At its annual Partner Summit today in Santa Monica, California, the firm also announced it will be launching AR products for music festivals and in vending machines.

“Our goal is to have people use their time more efficiently in the world instead of getting immersed in a virtual one,” says Bobby Murphy, Snap’s chief technology officer. 

The AR mirrors were first tested at the Williamsburg location of Nike in New York last fall, allowing customers to virtually try on Nike clothing and score discounts by playing an AR game. The test was deemed a success, and now Nike is deploying the technology in more stores across the US. 

AR has powered Snapchat filters and Lenses (the company’s term for its in-app AR experiences) for years, but these additional uses of the technology create a potential revenue stream for Snap outside the social media platform’s app.

Last month, Snap launched AR Enterprise Services, or ARES, selling its AR technology to brands so that they can use it in their own apps, websites, and stores. The AR mirrors at Nike and Men’s Wearhouse are part of that ARES initiative.

Today, Snap said it is also launching a series of AR vending machines in partnership with Coca-Cola over the coming months. When customers wave their hand at the machine, it will open a “portal” where they can get a soft drink, check out merchandise, earn rewards, and play games, all controlled by hand gestures.

Snap is also launching new AR capabilities in its Snapchat app for 16 live music festivals this summer, including Bonnaroo in Tennessee, Governors Ball in New York, and Lollapalooza Paris. Audience members will be able to use an AR compass and 3D map inside the app to navigate around the festivals. And a set with DJ Kygo, also this summer, will feature exclusive visuals viewable only via AR.

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