The explosion of in-store iPads has led to consumers increasingly expecting technology to bring education, entertainment and a bit of show business to a retail environment. Let’s take a look at how this technology is being used on the high street.
TopShop – Runway to Store
In February, Topshop partnered with Google to ‘re-imagine the fashion show’, as the retailer allowed its audiences online and in store to access every aspect of its latest fashion shows as if they were a runway model or buyer in the audience.
With what Arcadia dubbed ‘Model Cam’, Topshop created the first real-time runway camera on a model – with selected models wearing HD micro cameras that enabled viewers online to see and feel the models’ experiences.
Working with Google, this was translated in store through the G+ booth and interactive window – a custom-designed Google+ animated photo booth installed in Topshop’s Oxford Street flagship. Fans were able to go in and try their favourite outfits and have their picture instantly uploaded in an interactive digital window as well as on Topshop’s Google+ page. The window also showed live streams of the fashion shows and all events in the build up.
Topshop chief marketing officer Justin Cooke adds: “By partnering with Google, we broadcast the show to the consumer from every single perspective. Model Cam allows viewers to see and feel a unique moment that everyone has imagined but never been so close to. With everything from the nail polish to the music instantly purchasable and shareable, this really is the future of the fashion show.”
Asda – Augmented Reality Easter Egg Hunt
Last year, augmented reality specialist Zappar teamed with grocer Asda for the UK’s first augmented reality-enabled Easter egg hunt. Shoppers embarked on an in-store Easter egg hunt guided by a Zappar-powered augmented reality Easter bunny in almost 400 Asda stores across the UK.
Specially designed Easter egg points of sales hidden around the stores, when zapped using the free Asda app, transformed into virtual 3D Easter eggs. These then revealed Easter bunnies that displayed secret letters to form a password, entitling hunters to a free gift. The augmented reality action also extended beyond the store, with participants able to take home a facemask that replaced the wearer’s head with that of an Easter bunny when zapped.
Zappar head of partner relations Max Dawes says: “What we are trying to do is bring some bite-sized entertainment into the stores, which will keep the family occupied while the parents do the shopping and put a smile on people’s faces. As far as we are aware, it’s the largest such project that has been run and the guiding principle is about fun and engagement.”
Steph Hughes, head of events marketing at Asda, adds: “The augmented reality Easter egg hunt is a great way to get across the Asda personality and another example of how Asda stores are a destination for mums and kids.”
Heals – Whispering Windows
As part of a re-launch campaign for Heal’s mattresses website, the home furniture retailer has launched an interactive window display at its flagship Tottenham Court Road store. The creative display, which launched in time for Valentine’s Day, featured three bedroom scenes, each including a TV playing well-known film footage supplied by Warner Bros Entertainment. People passing the store could watch and hear the films thanks to Feonic’s Whispering Window invisible speakers, which converted the windows into speakers, enabling the film track to be heard both inside and outside the store.
“It’s the first time we have launched a window display that can be heard as well as seen and we really think this makes heads turn,” says Ben Rhodes, visual display manager at Heal’s.
“We are very proud of our 200-year heritage of making beds and mattresses and so to mark the re-launch of the Heal’s Mattresses website, I wanted to create something extra special.
Each bedroom scene was hidden by curtains, which automatically open in sequence akin to those you have in cinemas or theatres. A clip from an iconic film is played for passers-by to enjoy. When finished, the next display then opens, and so a new film clip can be enjoyed,” he explains.
Warner Bros Entertainment provided seven-minute clips of romantic films Gone with the Wind and Casablanca, plus footage from a classic edition of the cartoon Tom and Jerry.
B&Q – App Club
DIY retailer B&Q launched a new app for users to redeem loyalty offers on their smartphone and access deals on the go and in store.
The B&Q Club has more than 690,000 members who can download the app from the retailer’s website where shoppers show their phone to staff in store who input their barcode at the check out. B&Q is taking the service further when it introduces new point-of-sale scanners later in the year allowing shoppers to scan the barcodes themselves.
Research carried out by the retailer showed 64% of smartphone owners use their devices in store. The retailer hopes to bolsters its multichannel credentials and reduce the use of paper by switching to the app.
B&Q financial and business services general manager Stephen Clarke says: “The B&Q Club app offers a quick and convenient way for our loyalty scheme members to take advantage of the very latest offers and deals from the club. This initiative is a continuation of our commitment to being fully customer focused and delivers the omnichannel retailing approach.”
Bos Iced Tea – Tweet to Vend
Last year, South African beverage company Bos Ice Tea found a new way to reward consumers in real time with a vending machine that dispensed drinks for tweets.
The Bos vending machine is called Bev and resides at Wembley Square in Cape Town. It connects to Twitter’s streaming API, registers the configured hashtag as a filter, and then all tweets containing the hashtag were streamed to the Bos sampling machine. Bev then checked every Tweet’s location settings, compared those settings with its own location boundaries, and dispensed an iced tea when there was a match. After each drink is dispensed, the machine shuts down for a set period – during this time, the tweeter’s screen name is displayed on the LED display, alternating with the amount of time before the machine will be active again.
Following this, in Canada, Hot Wheels and Chevrolet Canada teamed up with TrojanOne to develop the Hot Wheels Camaro-matic Trending Machine, which launched at the 2013 Canadian International AutoShow in Toronto.
Guests at the show received one of two 2013 Hot Wheels Camaro die-casts from the vending machine by sending a tweet using #ChevyCIAS @HotWheelsCanada. They had to be standing in front of the machine and their smartphone Twitter location services had to be turned on to activate the machine. The idea is expected to be taken in store by Hot Wheels manufacturer Mattel.
Anne Summers – Interactive Lingerie
Adult clothing and sex toys retailer Ann Summers launched the world’s first interactive lingerie service using Blippar.
Customers were able to use an app to ‘blipp’ Ann Summers’ autumn/winter 2012 window displays and look-books for a chance to virtually try on the lingerie.
The blipp also featured the opportunity to ‘Blipp to Buy’, whereby customers could, with the touch of a button, buy lingerie that fitted them. Shoppers interacting with the Ann Summers blipp were also offered an exclusive 10% discount on lingerie merchandise. Blippar describes itself as the first image recognition phone app aimed at bringing to life real-world newspapers, magazines, products and posters with augmented reality experiences and instantaneous content.
VIA retail Week.