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Get excited: soon you'll be able to buy things on Snapchat!

Snapchat has dabbled in e-commerce before, by selling features and additions to its app

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
February 18, 2016
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/4363

When it comes to Snapchat's monetization, the company has seemingly settled on gaining most of its revenue through advertising and sponsored content through brand partnerships. There has been, however, another revenue stream that the company has been dabbling in, one that it might be going full throttle on soon: e-commerce.

Speaking at Re/code’s Code/Media conference on Wednesday, Joanna Coles, a member of the Snapchat board of directors, as well as editor in chief of Cosmopolitan, revealed that her company will soon be able to monetize Sweet, a Snapchat channel that the company launched with Hearst in November. 

“Sweet is a channel on Snapchat that Hearst and Snapchat have done together, and the tagline is ‘Love something new every day,'” Coles said. “But at some point that will morph into an e-commerce platform so you will be able to buy from it.”

What exactly that means, and how it would work, seem to be a little up in the air right now. The most obvious answer would be a buy button, something that has become quite popular among social media companies recently.

The trend started in 2014, with the launch of buy buttons from both Twitter and Facebook, but both Facebook and Pinterest took that baton and ran with it in 2015.

In June of last year, Facebook partnered up with Shopify to allow its merchants to advertise and sell their products and then, in October, it launched a dedicated shopping feed, creating a single place where users can more easily discover, share and purchase products.

Pinterest, meanwhile, announced in 2015 that it was launching the Pinterest Shop, which will feature collections from different brands, including big stores like Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom, as well as small boutiques like The Citizenry and Heist.

So a buy button would something quite standard at this point, However, Snapchat's plan might involve something more, as, Coles does not "think necessarily the tech bit is quite there, quite yet for how we would like to do it.” That certainly sounds like something beyond what we've already seen.

VatorNews reached out to Snapchat on Cole's statements, but a company spokesperson declined to comment. 

This wouldn't be the first time that Snapchat has attempted to make money from commerce. Though it has not sold goods, it has sold its users extra features, such as paid replays, which allow users to rewatch content for a fee. Not all of these efforts have worked out, though. For example, the company launched the lenses store in November, charging users 99 cents to permenently buy one of 30 available lenses.

Snapchat shut down the project in January, instead focusing on branding efforts. That is the same thing that it did with its Discover feature as well, selling sponsored channels. 

The thought so far has been that Snapchat would make its money from its partners, not its users. And the data actually bears this out. A poll taken of 100 Snapchat users, 87 percent said that they never buy things they see on Snapchat, and another 11 percent said they rarely did. 

That is a behavior that Snapchat is going to have to change if it wants to really start making money from e-commerce.

(Image source: imore.com)