San Francisco: Snap Inc.’s plan for selling Spectacles depends largely on hype and scarcity. The company began distributing the $130 Snapchat sunglasses, each with a built-in camera for shooting video, in a yellow pop-up vending machine on Thursday.
The plan seems to be working: It’s already going for as much as $1,000 a pop on eBay. A couple dozen of the products are listed, with bids ranging from $200 to more than $500. eBay shoppers snapped up at least nine Spectacles listed on the site Thursday for $600 to $1,000 each.
People lined up along Venice Beach in Los Angeles near the startup’s headquarters for a chance to buy the gadget from a friendly-looking vending machine called Snapbot. The current stock of Spectacles is already sold out, and the company said it will sell them at a different location soon.
Snap is aiming to create a product roll-out that feels like a game, hoping to avoid the fate of unpopular wearable electronics, like Google Glass. The vending machines themselves are interactive. The yellow boxes, adorned with balloons, are designed to look like a cyclops cartoon that wakes from a nap when someone walks in front of it. The display lets a shopper virtually try on the glasses in coral, black or teal. After swiping a credit card, the glasses are dispensed through the cyclops’s mouth.
The project has been shrouded in mystery. The next Snapbot location will be posted on Spectacles.com 24 hours before the vending machine arrives, the company said. Snap said it would not distribute the product to journalists or product reviewers for testing, resisting a common practice in the consumer-electronics industry. It didn’t respond to a question about whether Spectacles will eventually be sold in stores. Bloomberg