Snapchat is probably used to Facebook copying its features by now, but Apple borrowing a page out of its playbook is likely a bit more surprising.
But that's exactly what has happened, as Apple has added custom actions to its AR Quick Look protocol for web-based AR content that owes some influence to Snapchat's Shoppable AR e-commerce platform.
Now, in browser-based AR experiences on iPhones and iPads running iOS 13.3 or greater, developers can add Apple Pay buttons for instant purchases, custom buttons with other calls to action, or rich-text banners with additional information.
The update means that retailers can enable customers to buy what they see in AR immediately via the Apple Pay button. With the custom buttons, retailers can direct customers to add an item to their online shopping cart or look at a matching item by essentially creating an HTML banner embedded with a URL.
Just in time for Valentine's Day, 1-800-Flowers is one of the first retailers to implement the new tool. Customers browsing the Valentine's Day specials on 1800flowers.com can preview select products, such as the Enchanted Rose Medley Bouquet, on their own table, with an Apple Pay button available to purchase the product.
Other retailers reportedly implementing the new capability are Home Depot, Wayfair, and Bang & Olufsen.
The custom actions put AR Quick Look on par with Snapchat's Shoppable AR, which enables advertisers to add actions such as buying products online, visiting websites, watching a video, or installing/opening apps.
For its part, Snapchat has gained a considerable following with its Shoppable AR platform, with Disney, Levi's, Kohl's, Blizzard Entertainment, Jack in the Box, and New Balance among the brands deploying the tool in their AR marketing campaigns.
But Apple's AR Quick Look, like Google's Scene Viewer for ARCore on Android and 8th Wall's web-based platform, has the ubiquity of the web on its side. While Snapchat's daily active user growth over the past year, up to 218 million as of the fourth quarter of 2019, is impressive, it pales in comparison to mobile web access, which comes standard on every smartphone and tablet -- no app install required.