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Snapchat launches in-app merchandise store, opening the potential for mCommerce

Tim Maytom

Snap has launched a merchandise store within Snapchat, enabling fans of the photo messaging app to purchase clothing and other items associated with it. While the store isn't yet open to third party brands, it's possible that Snap is testing the water for another way of monetising its users.

The Snap Store is located within the app's Discover section, and offers items like a t-shirt featuring Snapchat's Dog lens design and a Dancing Hot Dog Plushie (yours for just $20). Snap has also released a Snap Code for the store, enabling users to jump straight to it via the Snapchat camera.

The Store is reportedly meant to serve as a reward for Snapchat's community, offering them a way of expressing their loyalty to the platform, rather than as a serious revenue stream for the firm, but it also provides Snap with a useful testing ground that could prove the app has potential as an mCommerce channel.

Snap has faced difficulties recently, missing revenue targets and reportedly laying off staff as it struggles to work towards profitability in the wake of its IPO. With shareholders increasing pressure for results, the company has launched a redesign aimed at making the app more friendly for new users, but it has been widely criticised by the existing userbase. With apps like Instagram emulating the service's successful features, and Snapchat's curated content channels suffering from low engagement, the company is eager for a win.

Snap has previously made official merchandise available through third-party retailers or, in the case of its Spectacles smart glasses, through dedicated pop-up stores. Like past merchandise, many of the Snap Store's products will be limited edition and regularly refreshed.