Amazon and Snapchat are making it easier for consumers to buy products on their smartphones--a move that may serve as a potential revenue stream for the troubled Snap.  

The companies are partnering on a new feature called Visual Search that lets Snapchat users take photos of products and quickly find the same item--or similar products--for sale on Amazon. Users can also scan the barcode on a product to find the exact same item. If the product is available on Amazon, the app will provide a link to buy it. Snapchat's parent company, Snap, announced the new feature on Monday, saying the company is "rolling it out slowly" to just a few users at a time.

Although the terms of the deal have not been disclosed, partnering with Amazon could provide Snap an additional revenue source if the social media company gets a cut from products purchased through the app. Snap has faced significant challenges since going public last year. In August, Snap reported its first-ever quarterly drop in daily active users, to 188 million from 191 million in the previous quarter. Snap's stock price has also gone downhill since it debuted on New York Stock Exchange in March 2017; at publication time, Snap shares were trading at around $9, down from its $17 IPO target price. 

Snapchat's Visual Search follows similar features from Instagram and Pinterest. Instagram lets businesses tag their own products so that users interested in buying them can click to buy, while Pinterest has "buyable pins" that also lets users purchase items found in the platform. Snapchat's Visual Search differs in that users are looking at products in the real world as opposed to on their friends' feeds. The tool could help Amazon snag Snapchat users and prevent them from using other e-commerce sites, as well as make it easier for users to navigate its extensive product catalog, Bloomberg reports.

Snapchat did not share the terms or details of its partnership with Amazon. Snap and Amazon did not immediately return requests for comment on Tuesday.

Published on: Sep 25, 2018