Tag Archives: shopping

A Very Augmented-Reality Christmas

The holiday season means big marketing campaigns that often feature cutting-edge technology. I recently wrote about Starbucks’ cool Cup Magic promotion, which uses augmented reality to bring the coffee chain’s products to life. Other brands are using AR to grab attention at the end of 2011. Here are a few, along with the reasons I admire them.

Chanel
The famous French fashion label is promoting its J12 line of watches with an iPad and iPhone app that includes an augmented reality feature. By holding their phones over their wrists, or by holding their wrists up to their iPad cameras, shoppers can virtually try on the luxury watches.

Why I like it: Many prospective customers are too intimidated to go into a store and try on Chanel watches. Augmented reality makes it easy to see what these gorgeous timepieces look like on your wrist. And seeing yourself wearing a Chanel product is a powerful motivator for purchase. Studies have shown that if you touch a product or try it on, you’re more likely to buy it.

Bratz
The Masquerade line of Bratz dolls comes with one mask for the doll and another for the child. The mask launches an augmented reality feature on the Bratz website. While looking at herself via a webcam, the girl can get a “virtual makeover,” adding lipstick, face paint, and a wig to her masked look. The image can then be saved, shared, and printed.


Why I like it:
No toy has ever included an interactive element like this, so it stands alone in the holiday gift marketplace. Also, it lets girls play with makeup without any mess!

Debenhams Stores
This British department store added a gaming element to AR. Shoppers visited one of five pop-up stores and used an app to find ten “invisible” party dresses. Once they did, they could take a picture of themselves virtually “wearing” the dresses and then share the photos with friends.

Why I like it: Turning shopping into a game is one great idea. Letting shoppers see what they look like in the dresses is another, since it increases the likelihood of a purchase. And a third great idea was that anyone using the app received a 20% discount on the Debenhams mobile site, which encouraged participation and drove awareness of mobile shopping – a big trend for 2012.

Macy’s
Our Herald Square neighbors have a fun interactive promotion for the holidays that ties in to their “Believe” campaign, benefitting the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Shoppers download an app and point their phones at an in-store camera. The result is a photo that includes a character from the charming animated special Yes, Virginia. The photo can then be shared on Facebook or through a holiday e-card. Shoppers can even post the image on the Macy’s Facebook Page. Each week, whichever photo gets the most “Likes” will become Macy’s Facebook profile picture for that week.


Why I like it:
Obviously this campaign brings kids into the store, but the Facebook photo competition keeps the promotion alive days after you’ve left. In fact, you don’t even have to visit the store to participate: by printing out a marker and pointing the app at it, you can see an animation of Virginia ice skating.

Get ready for more AR campaigns as the technology improves, the price comes down, and agencies come up with more exciting ways to use it. Until then, have a happy Thanksgiving and a very augmented-reality Christmas!

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P.S. Speaking of Macy’s, we’d like to wish good luck to Katie, our Director of Client Services, who will be a handler for the Uncle Sam balloon in tomorrow’s parade. Stay warm!

photo by Kevin Harber

The Latest in Social Media for Retailers

With the big Labor Day shopping weekend behind us and retailers already planning for the holiday season, I thought I’d spend this week’s blog looking at the recent developments in social media for retail.

Not Such a Great Deal?
The biggest news came from Facebook, which eliminated its Deals feature after only four months. Just a few days later, Yelp announced that it was scaling back its Daily Deals service, cutting that department’s sales force in half. These unexpected moves signaled that the trend of retailers using daily deals and online coupons may have peaked, probably due to market saturation. MSNBC’s Technolog says consumers are suffering from “daily deals fatigue,” citing a 7% decline in industry revenue between June and July.

Image courtesy of Yipit

Social Media Isn’t Going Anywhere
But retailers aren’t giving up on social media. A recent survey conducted by audience research company Bizo revealed that 65% of retail marketing executives think social media is “most important” for the upcoming shopping seasons. And 96% thought that social media marketing is more important, or as important, to their marketing in 2011 versus 2010.

Does that mean social media marketing leads to sales? In the Bizo survey, 41% of respondents said the most important aspect of social media was simply “creating general awareness.” In fact, only 14% had actually tracked the business results of their social media efforts. So many companies are finding it either difficult (likely) or undesirable (unlikely) to measure social marketing’s effect on their sales.

QR is OK
Meanwhile, mobile marketing is growing. ComScore, a digital analytics company, just released the results of a study on mobile QR code scanning. Almost 40% of the 14 million Americans who scanned codes on their phones in June did so from a retail store. 25% scanned a code from a grocery store and 8% scanned from a restaurant. That’s more than ten million people using mobile technology to enhance their shopping experience in just 30 days.

When Customers Play, Retailers Win
Retailers are also using mobile games to drive sales. The iMedia Connection blog recently listed 15 ways brands are using gamification, such as points and rewards, to increase business. Several retailers made the list, including Target, which uses the ShopKick mobile app to incentivize shopping. Customers receive points when they enter a participating store and when they scan select product barcodes. Customers can then redeem the points for Target gift cards. A number of other retailers, including Home Depot and Sephora, are using a similar app called CheckPoints.

So deal-of-the-day websites are declining while QR codes and mobile discount games are on the rise. Looking ahead, retailers should beware “daily deals fatigue” and concentrate on loyalty programs, scannable in-store codes, and ways to “gamify” their shopping experiences. The next step in this mobile retail evolution is the exciting world of augmented reality – but that’s a topic for another day.