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Snapchat is now selling hats and sweatshirts inside its app — and testing out Snapchat’s commerce potential in the process

Do people want to buy stuff inside Snapchat? Looks like Snapchat wants to find out.

An ad to sell a sweatshirt with a winking Snapchat logo on the front Snapchat

Do people want to buy things directly through Snapchat? The company is trying to find out.

The company launched a new in-app Snap Store on Thursday, a section where users can buy sweatshirts with Snapchat’s logo, or a stuffed plush toy depicting Snapchat’s now famous dancing hotdog character. You can get to the store by scanning a special QR code on Snapchat’s website, and the company will sometimes feature the new store inside the Discover section of the app where it has professional content, like shows, from publishing partners.

Snapchat has sold branded merchandise before, but only on Amazon, not inside its own app. It even sells its video-recording sunglasses, called Spectacles, from an online store, but not inside Snapchat.

Snapchat’s dancing hotdog Snapchat

Which makes Snap’s decision to open this new store an interesting one. Snapchat is not going to make meaningful money selling sweatshirts — but that’s not the point. Instead, it looks as though Snapchat is trying to get some insight into how its user base might discover and buy products inside the app. Do people want to buy items from inside Discover? Do users navigate to the store using the special QR code that opens it inside the app?

Maybe Snap doesn’t care about that stuff — and selling sweatshirts is a fun way to turn some of its users into walking billboards for the product. Or maybe Snap has broader commerce ambitions, and selling its own gear from inside the app will give it a way to figure out what works — and what doesn’t — before signing up a bunch of partners.

Snap’s been thinking for years about selling items inside Discover. But that hasn’t happened. When the company first rolled out Snapcash, a peer-to-peer payments feature, it looked like commerce was going to follow. That never happened, either.

In any case, the store is now available inside the app, and Snapchat says it’ll drop new products next week. For now, the company will only ship to U.S. addresses.

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