Sweet, Hearst's Snapchat channel, has partnered with the transparency-minded apparel e-tailer Everlane to test a way to bring shopping to the social media network.
The project, which appeared Nov. 8 on Sweet's Snapchat Discover Page, encourages visitors to "draw" a monogram on an Everlane bag, then e-mail a saved screenshot of the design to Everlane to complete the order. Customers used Snapchat's text and drawing tools to pick colors and monogram details.
This is the debut of an eight-piece line of leather bags and accessories, which will become widely available Thursday for $40 to $150. It's also the first time that Everlane will ship internationally.
The playful effort to convert social followers into buyers comes at a time when so-called social-commerce — the term for shopping that uses a social media channel — is gaining in both interest and skepticism. The potential is there, but the delivery has largely failed to live up to hype so far.
Ross Clark, vice president and general manager at Sweet, calls the channel's brand of interactive editorial "conversational content" and said it's an approach Sweet has used to score firsts from brands such as Gucci and Carolina Herrera.
He touted Sweet's ethos as "all about discovery."
Everlane is starting small and will choose only 50 of the submitted designs. "It's a way for us to figure out how hungry people are for personalization," said Everlane director of marketing Alyssa Bergerson. "It's something we've experimented with in small ways with events."
The experiment taps into a number of ideas that are, as Clark said, "having a moment," such as DIY and customization, in addition to shopping on a social media platform.
Instagram on Monday began testing a new feature for fashion brands that allows them to add product details and outside links to posts, and Facebook's opened up Messenger to chatbots that, if all goes according to plan, could phase in a chat-based form of commerce.
Everlane uses Instagram for sharing user-generated content and news about launches, and turns to Twitter to engage with customers and "create a dialogue." It's also begun testing communicating with customers on Messenger with both automated messages and human interaction.