Snapchat Experiments With E-Commerce Amid Search For Profits

Snap is presently experimenting with an e-commerce feature of Snapchat as its search for profitability continues, with Digiday reporting the company recently started testing an in-app storefront as part of its Snapchat Discover platform, citing industry insiders with knowledge of the effort. Snap previously touted e-commerce as one of its most promising potential growth avenues but declined to comment on the newly reported test. In essence, the experimental functionality is said to allow users to purchase items from the Discover store by simply swiping up on them. The storefront presently offers Snapchat merchandise to all users, though the extent of the trial that reportedly allowed select individuals to purchase third-party products from the platform remains unclear. A small number of publishers that agreed to participate in the trial kept all proceeds generated through such sales, though Snap would presumably be taking a cut of revenue should it move forward with rolling out the feature on a global level.

Several sources told Digiday Snap is presently gauging interest in such a service and has already approached firms not involved in the latest test with the idea. The Snapchat maker previously tried promoting its platform by providing publishers with a limited set of free advertisements, seeking to demonstrate the potential of its app that’s still understood to be enjoying significantly higher engagement rates than all of its rivals, Instagram and Facebook included. The reported move is widely interpreted as Snap’s newest major push toward profitability that it’s now under the expectation of achieving in the foreseeable future as a publicly traded company.

Snap co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Evan Spiegel wants the firm to somehow break even in 2018, industry sources said early last month. To that end, the Venice, Los Angeles-based company started cutting its costs in an extremely aggressive manner, having slowed down its hiring and started laying off dozens of employees last September. Planned job cuts at Snap are understood to have been concluded as of late March, though their full extent remains to be disclosed. The ephemeral messaging platform employed some 3,000 people on December 31, according to its consolidated financial report for 2017.

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