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Augmented reality check

Retailers can use new technology to better interact with shoppers - but it must have a genuine purpose.

Last week, luxury menswear etailer Mr Porter’s latest augmented reality campaign came to London. The campaign was originally launched earlier in the year to celebrate Mr Porter’s first birthday and was entitled Mr Porter Global Treasure Hunt.

The campaign began in February in Sydney, Australia, and works by users downloading an app called Goldrun so they can take part.

The app then points participants to specific locations in each city, where Mr Porter shopping bags appear via augmented reality on their smartphones.

When users have the Mr Porter bag on their smartphone they can open it to see if it contains a prize. Prizes range from a pair of APC jeans to a free delivery option. Mr Porter is using the location-based technology in order to interact with a global audience. So far the campaign has visited four cities (Sydney, New York, Paris and London), resulting in more than 50 winners and more than 1,000 interactions with the app, showing how this technology can be used globally.

John Warner, managing director of online image provider SpinMe, says interaction is the key to a successful augmented reality campaign: “Augmented reality is often about tying offline and online together. It’s a way of providing an interactive, social experience. Fashion retailers need to make that experience engaging enough to pull people into a shop.”

Augmented reality solutions company Kishino is launching a virtual wardrobe next month that will allow customers to try on garments online or in-store. Richard Corps, managing director of Kishino, explains how this can improve a retailer’s offering: “Augmented reality helps retailers drive traffic to stores and online and helps the consumer engage on a new level with fashion products through the creation of interactive 3D models.”

However, retailers need to ensure augmented technology is used for a specific purpose rather than simply because it’s the latest technological trend, whether that purpose is to improve brand awareness or enhance the customer shopping experience.

As Corps concludes: “Ensure there is a problem to solve rather than using tech for the sake of it, and walk the consumer through the campaign in easy-to-understand steps.”

Five essentials - Augmented reality campaigns

1. Think about why you want to create an augmented reality campaign

Given the turmoil on the high street, fashion retailers are having to rethink store experiences. Augmented reality allows brands to take visual assets to the next level, making the shopping experience interactive and encouraging participation on social networks.

2. Join your online and high street shopping experiences together

Augmented reality is often about tying the offline and online experience together. The key is engagement - it’s a two-way communication medium. An augmented reality campaign involves the brand enticing a customer, a customer doing something and the brand giving them something back.

3. Take advantage of the touchscreen

The rise of touchscreen smartphones and tablets is what is at the heart of augmented reality campaigns. Rather than being confined to a desktop browser experience, interactive or 3D images can be taken a step further by giving the customer the ability to move the product via augmented reality technology.

4. Offer something extra to draw new customers in-store

Augmented reality technology is an opportunity to use your online assets in a different way - if you’re a multichannel retailer, a good campaign with a compelling idea can prompt online-only customers to go to your store in a co-ordinated fashion. Entice and empower people and make coming in the store essential.

5. Make your shop window engaging

Hugo Boss ran an interactive casino game - people held cards up as they walked past the store window to view exclusive content, then were invited into the store to see if they’d won a voucher. Fashion retailers need to make the experience engaging enough to pull people into a shop.

  • John Warner, Managing director of online imaging specialist SpinMe.


Readers' comments (1)

  • Touch screen phones can be a curse, with 'customers' using bar code apps to check your prices and basically using your store to try on goods before they purchase online, as many brands have deliberately turned a blind eye to heavy online discounting. Technology is not always a good thing...

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