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All the interactive retail campaigns from tech to social media this holiday season

Hearst and Blippar's augmented reality retail district in Covent Garden - holiday campaigns
Hearst and Blippar’s augmented reality retail district in Covent Garden

What better time of year for something a bit fun and interactive than at Christmas. With an increasing movement towards more in the way of technology that actually resonates with consumers, we’ve seen all sorts of campaigns deployed this season to enhance the festive experience in both physical and digital spaces.

From chatbots to virtual reality devices, not to mention increasingly clever applications on social media, all things digital are proving key for successful holiday seasons to come.

Here we’ve rounded up all of the best of this year’s initiatives across the fashion and retail space. Don’t forget to also check out our best picks of the festive films for 2016.


Technology aids in merging physical with digital

The evolving presence of tech in the holiday season was first spotted when John Lewis launched its Christmas campaign in the UK a few weeks ago. Included was an in-store activity where visitors could experience its Buster the Boxer commercial through virtual reality headsets.

Shortly after, eBay opened a two-day pop up in London that aimed to be the first store run on ‘emotions’. Visitors could browse gift items and select the ones they responded to the best, according to bio-analytic and facial technology.

Next we saw Hearst Magazines teamed up with Blippar to create the world’s first ‘augmented reality retail district’ in Covent Garden. Magazine editors worked with 35 participating retailers to bring to life beauty and fashion gift guides that are only available to view through the Blippar app. Further gamification included using the app over the district’s Christmas tree, located in the famous Piazza, to unlock retailer and restaurant discounts.

Google's Window Wonderland virtual reality experience - holiday campaigns
Google’s Window Wonderland virtual reality experience

Meanwhile in New York, department store window displays are being celebrated through a campaign from Google called Window Wonderland, which allows users to experience 18 displays, from the iconic Bergdorf Goodman to Macy’s and Tiffany & Co, also through the magic of VR. Each can be zoomed in and even come with audio guides from some of the store creatives talking about this year’s work.

The experience was produced by Google’s Art, Copy & Code team by taking hundreds of high-resolution images of each store and then stitching them together so they can be viewed via a web browser, on a smartphone or tablet, or through a VR headset.

In a nod to the lesser trend of wearable technology this season, Samsung is celebrating the launch of its new G3 smartwatch in Piccadilly Circus from Dec 1 until Christmas Eve, with one choir performance a day, showcasing holiday spirit from around the world. Aiming to bring Londoners and visitors together, each choir comes from a different culture or country, ranging from France to Bangladesh.

The key part however is that selected choir members will wear the new smartwatch, which will measure their heartbeats, movements and calories burnt. The biometric results have then been transformed into visuals, displayed on eight screens around the stage.

The Samsung choir wearing the G3 smartwatch - holiday campaigns
The Samsung choir wearing the G3 smartwatch
Social media spans chatbots to live video

Beyond creatively deploying technology in physical environments, brands are taking to social media to explore new and different ways they can engage and encourage followers to get excited for the season.

There’s been a big focus on using chatbots via Facebook Messenger for instance, by brands including Nordstrom, Burberry, American Eagle and others. The idea is to enable gift discovery and interaction via the scaleable artificial intelligent bots, rather than relying on customer service teams. It’s fun and playful at this point, but also says a lot for the future of a trend referred to as “conversational commerce”.

Agent Provocateur's Whatsapp campaign - holiday campaigns
Agent Provocateur’s Whatsapp campaign

Conversation was also the name of the game for Agent Provocateur this season, albeit in a human capacity. The lingerie brand took to Whatsapp for a campaign led by its agency Cult LDN. Referred to as a Ménage à Trois, it helped couples choose ideal gifts by chatting within a group.

In a simpler way, we’ve also seen retailers like Macy’s pushing its “The Santa Project” campaign over social media with ads on Facebook Canvas and Instagram Marquee, while also encouraging followers to record their own videos explaining why they #Believe in Santa.

Also deploying video is Barneys New York, which has promoted a stylish Secret Santa featuring a group of influencers, from Man Repeller’s Leandra Medine to DJ Mia Moretti. #BarneysUnwrapped lives on the retailer’s Instagram page, where each participant stars in an individual video unwrapping their gift, subtly encouraging viewers to buy said items at Barneys, of course.

Needless to say, there’s also been a big focus on Snapchat this season with retailers such as Kohl’s taking the tried-and-test route of Sponsored Geofilters and John Lewis a Sponsored Lens themed to Buster the Boxer.

Sweet's pop-up gift shop on Snapchat sponsored by Maybelline - holiday campaigns
Sweet’s pop-up gift shop on Snapchat sponsored by Maybelline

Sweet, Hearst’s Snapchat-only media channel, meanwhile ran a two-day pop-up ‘shop’ sponsored by Maybelline. It released a gift guide with over 100 snaps, ranging from affordable to expensive, with Maybelline ads running in between. While Sweet’s editorial team worked on the extensive gift selection, it also developed fun and shareable content such as GIFs and catchy phrases, hoping viewers would screengrab their wish list items and send to friends.

Despite the success of a Snapchat giveaway campaign during this year’s Black Friday, US beauty subscription box Birchbox experimented with Instagram Stories in a “12 Days of Christmas” initiative for the holidays instead. It revealed prizes and discounts from partners such as Hilton and Athleta, in a campaign hosted by actress Sophia Bush.

This sort of staggered giveaway as a strategy, has been deployed by a number of other American retailers this year, including Target for Black Friday, and JetBlue with another 12-day campaign in a bid to get customers to come back and interact day after day.

Birchbox's 12 Days of Christmas campaign on Instagram Stories - holiday campaigns
Birchbox’s 12 Days of Christmas campaign on Instagram Stories

Meanwhile with live video on a steep incline, Facebook Live has been the focus for a lot of brands ahead of the holidays. UK retailer Primark, an active user of the feature, has recently promoted a series of giveaways under the “Go, Get and Gift” headline, where viewers who answered questions correctly the quickest would be rewarded discounts and gifts.

ASOS ran a similar campaign that grabbed viewer’s attentions by asking them to guess what was packed inside mysterious bags as tips and hints slowly unfolded, with all the right answers entering a prize draw.


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Each of these themes – from virtual reality to chatbots, Snapchat campaigns and live video – point to the direction we’re seeing fashion brands and retailers moving for 2017. They join a raft of other key trends to know about in the tech space including frictionless payments, designing for the voice interface and thinking about blockchain.

What this also proves is that with digital media so embedded in customers’ lives, brands are particularly embracing chances to grab audience attention while they’re willing to join in; during a positive and festive time of the year. The holiday season, unlike its divisive younger sister Black Friday, is the perfect opportunity for them to convey a message of unity and fun, while experimenting with all that the newest tech has to offer. Look out for much more of this ahead too however.

 

 

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business digital snippets e-commerce social media technology

Digital snippets: YNAP’s 2020 growth plans, synthetic spider silk, LVMH’s start-ups

Digital snippets - YNAP
Yoox Net-a-Porter Group

We’re back with another round-up of everything you might have missed in fashion, digital comms and technology news over the past week or so. Top of the agenda is an in-depth insight from Yoox Net-a-Porter Group on how it plans to outpace the online luxury market through 2020, while there’s also highlights from LVMH’s start-up showcase in Paris, the role synthetic spider silk might play in the future, not to mention various views from the latest Snapchat campaigns…


  • How Yoox Net-a-Porter Group plans to outpace the online luxury market through 2020 [Fashionista]

  • Synthetic spider silk could be the biggest technological advance in clothing since nylon [QZ]

  • LVMH is looking for start-ups to bring personalisation to its brands [Glossy]

  • Snapchat takes turn at couture [WWD]

  • Early reads on Snapchat lenses show success for Urban Decay and Benefit [WWD]

  • Kate Moss leads line-up of stars in new Calvin Klein campaign [The Industry]

  • Shiseido ups digital game with ‘Rouge Rouge Kiss Me’ [WWD]

  • Meet MikMak, the mobile shopping network that sells via video [WSJ]

  • Beauty and the bot: Artificial intelligence is the key to personalising aesthetic products [The Globe and Mail]

  • How software is reshaping fashion’s back end [BoF]

  • Pinterest for fashion brands: ‘It’s not there yet’ [Glossy]

  • Can new technologies thwart counterfeiters? [BoF]

  • Blippar sets ‘early 2017’ date to hit mass awareness as it tunes ad business for visual search [The Drum]
Categories
mobile social media technology

Henry Holland’s LCM show instantly shoppable thanks to augmented reality app

House of Holland's augmented reality shopping app in action
House of Holland’s augmented reality shopping app in action

The shoppable runway took on new meaning at House of Holland’s London Collections Men presentation this weekend past, with garments available for purchase straight off the back of models thanks to augmented reality.

The initiative was the result of a partnership between Visa Europe Collab and visual discovery and augmented reality app, Blippar.

Users (in this case Radio One DJ Nick Grimshaw and model Rafferty Law) were able to hold their smartphone in front of the desired garment and tap the screen to activate AR technology that would pull up imagery and information about it. They were then able to instantly check out using a pre-registered and prepaid debit or credit card.

“Being able to scan garments through Blippar and purchase them pretty much off [the model’s] back is an amazing technological development and one I have dreamt of as a consumer and a fashion business owner,” said House of Holland founder, Henry Holland.

Visa Europe Collab co-founder Hendrik Kleinsmiede, commented: “Augmented reality has the potential to be transformative for the retail industry. Imagine a future where you can point your phone at a friend’s new outfit with their permission, only for the app to recognise and source that outfit in your size, and give you the option of having it sent straight to your home.”

Indeed, that idea of being able to capture anyone’s outfit and pull up information about where it’s from has long been an appealing one to shoppers. This aims to take that one step closer to reality (albeit a simpler version by being preloaded with truly accurate data thanks to the fact it’s focused on one brand’s products).

The launch at this point is just a proof-of-concept one – meaning it only existed for the moment of the LC:M show – but the aim is to make the technology available to other retailers on a wider scale later this year. Kleinsmiede added that he hopes this virtual shift in traditional shopping behaviour is something we’ll see on the high street very soon.

This was the second time Henry Holland and Visa Europe have worked together. The two collaborated on a wearable technology project in September 2015 that saw items purchased from the brand’s womenswear show during London Fashion Week using a payment ring.

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digital snippets e-commerce social media

Digital snippets: Nike, DVF, Michael Kors, Burt’s Bees, Free People, Chanel, Tory Burch

Here’s a rather hefty highlight of stories from around the web surrounding all things fashion and digital of late:

NikePlus_FuelbandSE

  • Nike’s new FuelBand and the age of social products [BoF]
  • Michael Kors runs #WatchHungerStop animated GIF campaign for World Food Day [Fashionista]
  • Burt’s Bees taps Vine in literary campaign to  promote its classic products [Brandchannel]
  • How Free People is using big data and social commerce for bigger sales [Forbes]
  • Chanel touts cosmetics line through insider beauty tip videos [Luxury Daily]
  • How Tory Burch builds passionate customers: insights on its digital journey [Shop.org]
  • Ralph Lauren showcases accessories in ‘The Dog Walk’ digital video [WWD]
  • Urban Outfitters preps for Holidays with mobile investments [AdAge]
  • P’trique of Sh*t Fashion Girls Say joins The Outnet in LinkedIn video campaign [Fashionologie]
  • Bobbi Brown uses interactive Blippar app to bring Katie Holmes to life [BeautyWorldNews]
  • How Coach uses Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ [Econsultancy]
  • The major retailers most threatened by mobile showrooming, and how they’re fighting it [Business Insider]
Categories
social media technology

River Island brings Rihanna content in-store with augmented reality flyers

River Island has partnered with augmented reality company Blippar to offer shoppers interactive content around its new Rihanna collection.

The initiative sees A5 flyers in store loaded with rich media content including exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, latest news from River Island and access to the website to buy the collection itself. Consumers can activate the content by using the Blippar app on their smartphones; pointing their camera at the images.

They can also share their favourite items from the collection on Facebook and Twitter, as well as save them to their image library.

Stephen Shaw, opportunities director at Blippar said: “The most eye-catching and successful Blippar campaigns always feature the most engaging content – and the Blippar team have been excited to work with such amazing electric photography and exclusive video content; when you add superstar models such as Jourdan Dunn into the mix we’re confident River Island customers will be blown-away by the whole campaign.”

As Retail Week pointed out however, River Island’s lack of a mobile-optimised website leads to a poor user experience for those directed, somewhat belittling the benefits of such an initiative.

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digital snippets e-commerce mobile social media Uncategorized

Digital snippets: Hermès, New Look, Holt Renfrew, Victoria’s Secret, Nina Garcia

Some more great stories from around the web surrounding all things fashion and digital over the past week:

  • Hermès brings 8 Ties digital installation to Selfridges (as pictured) [GQ.co.uk]
  • New Look opens Blippar-enabled Marble Arch store [CreativeBoom]
  • Holt Renfrew’s youth click: navigating social media like a teenager [WWD]
  • Nina Garcia’s media consumption habits [AdWeek]
  • Chris Anderson says the ‘Maker’ movement is the next industrial revolution [BoF]
  • Online spending and in-store “showrooming” are on the rise [MediaPost]
  • Retailers expect 6% of holiday sales to come from mobile [eMarketer]
Categories
e-commerce Uncategorized

Smashbox and Look partner on “blipp-to-buy” virtual shopping wall

Smashbox Cosmetics is set to host a virtual shopping wall at a high street catwalk show hosted by the UK’s Look magazine on October 6.

Enabled through a partnership with image recognition and augmented reality platform Blippar, the initiative will allow consumers to purchase products from the make-up brand directly through their mobile phones while at The Look Show event.

They will also be able to do so through the magazine thereafter, where pages showcasing the key make-up looks and products from the show will likewise be enhanced with shoppable augmented reality.

Stephen Shaw, opportunities director for Blippar, said: “From our initial creative briefings with Look it was clear they understood the tangible levels of engagement and interaction that Blippar could deliver for Smashbox Cosmetics. But just as important was that they realised the power of creating a stunning event and entertaining brand content that would compel their celebrity guests and readers to blipp-to-buy direct from the Smashbox Cosmetics virtual shopping wall and the post-show Look magazine special.”

Virtual shopping walls are a relatively new trend – inspired in the main by the Tesco Homplus subway initiative in South Korea last summer. Two further noteable examples include the Net-a-Porter Window Shop powered by Aurasma for Fashion’s Night Out in 2011, and the Glamour US beauty shopping wall in New York in February.

The Smashbox partnership with Look magazine comes as the LA-based cosmetics company aims to expands its UK presence. There will also be print and online display ads, social media, and homepage takeovers.

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Uncategorized

Stylist mag launches interactive #Olympics issue with Blippar

Stylist magazine launched its first augmented reality issue today with an interactive cover featuring Great Britain’s synchronised swimming team.

Enabled through a partnership between the UK free weekly title and image recognition app Blippar, the cover can be scanned to trigger a video of the Olympic hopefuls performing an exclusive routine.

“We knew we wanted to do something really special to mark the Olympics, and when we spoke to the Blippar team it became apparent they could help us create something innovative that would totally engage our readers and celebrate this incredible event,” said editor Lisa Smosarski.

The issue has various additional scannable pages throughout (recognisable by the Blippar logo), giving readers access to more videos as well as social media content and a “Style List” you can shop directly from. There’s also an Olympic medal leader board due to be updated daily throughout the Games.

“There’s so much to see, do and play with in this issue,” Smosarski adds in a video explaining how to use the app, here.

Stylist follows in the footsteps of Tatler and Asos who have previously made their magazines come to life using augmented reality.