Facebook has introduced an augmented reality feature that will enable brands including Nike to offer fans more immersive experiences when speaking on Messenger.
The launch, which was announced at Facebook’s annual F8 developers conference this week, also includes other brand partners such as Sephora, ASUS and Kia.
Nike will allow superfans to buy limited-edition sneakers in AR. At the F8 keynote, the brand introduced a new pair of limited edition Kyrie Irving shoes called “Red Carpet”, which sold out within minutes of the announcement.
To access the experience, users had to speak to the SNKRS chatbot via the Messenger app by sending basketball-related emojis, which unlocked a pair of the shoes. After that, a virtual render of the Red Carpet shoe appeared on the user’s phone, which meant they could move it around to experience it in 3D, before committing to purchase.
The launch is in line with the sportswear brand’s evolving strategy towards an increasingly mobile experience. Last year, it launched an AR feature within its SNKRS app that allowed users to buy a pair of SB Dunks; to promote its Momofuku collaboration in the restaurant’s hometown of NYC, it encouraged fans to partake in a scavenger hunt across the city where shoes could be purchased by triggering AR experiences via physical posters.
Beyond Nike, other launches include Taiwanese electronic company ASUS, which demo’ed a feature where you can play with the ZenFone 5 to learn more about its features; Sephora, which is introducing a selection of make-up looks to virtually try-on and share; and Kia, which is giving potential customers the opportunity to customize the Kia Stinger.
For Facebook, new features allow the social media giant to further enhance its mission to deepen connections between peers and brands alike. David Marcus, head of Messenger, said at the conference: “This feature, launching in closed beta, helps people get valuable, instant feedback about purchases, and more. Developers will be able to build experiences that let people virtually customize or try-on merchandise, walk through new products, or simply express themselves in a fun way.”