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Branded Environments: 10 Interactive Ideas For Retailers


Interactive technology is taking the retail world by storm.  And as technology and cost barriers continue to fall, the pace of innovation is accelerating. Retailers around the world continue to find new and interesting ways to use technology to engage shoppers and deliver branded experiences. Here are eight of our current favorites.


Puma has come up with a really cool concept that makes what appears to be an ordinary mirror a window into an ecommerce and virtual fitting room experience. When customers try on Puma apparel at the store, they can utilize the Puma Interactive Mirror to take photos of themselves wearing Puma clothing shown from different an

gles, and then archive the images. The customer can preview those archived images on-screen later. Shoppers can also check the look and styling of products without actually trying the apparel on by using the "Virtual Fitting" function. These archived images can be uploaded to a specific site called "MEET NEW FRIENDS!". Their images can also be downloaded or printed out. The images taken using the "Virtual Fitting" function have the products' model number embedded in the image, as well as links to PUMA's e-commerce site. Customers can check the products at home via the "MEET NEW FRIENDS!" website and purchase through the e-commerce site, or go back to the store to purchase selected clothing in-person.


Situated just around the corner from where the 2012 Summer Olympic Games took place, the Nike+ FuelStation offers more than just a store to purchase Nike products. It's a conceptual storefront where visitors can experience the Nike brand and a few of the technical features that will improve their performances.

The store includes motion sensitive intelligent mirrors that reveal film footage of local runners wearing key products from the store.  There are interactive touch screens providing consumers with information about Nike+ products, Nike+ Run Club sessions and products.  There's a weekly Nike+ Run Club, free regular consultations with physios and nutritionists for Nike+ Run Club members, runners' gait analysis via an in-store treadmill to allow consumers to purchase the right shoe for their running style, and the Nike+ FuelBand Interactive Experience, which is a motion sensitive installation where consumers see a life-size, digitized reflection on an LCD wall that reacts to movement to create a stunning piece of digital art that can be shared with friends via social networks.


Adidas recently launched a new kind of in-store window shopping experience with a big giant screen that allows you order clothing and other products. The new storefront window is a fully functioning virtual store with life-size products. The intuitive interface of the touch-screen lets shoppers explore, play and drag life-size products they are interested in directly into their smartphone for easy and convenient purchase from adidas NEO online.

By visiting a simple URL on their smartphone and typing in a one-time PIN, the shopper’s mobile becomes interlinked in real time with a shopping bag on the window, showing a live view of its contents. Any product dropped into the window’s shopping bag instantly appears on the mobile. The shopper can edit product details, save products for immediate or later purchase and share with friends through social media or email.

Shoppers can also play with a life-size digital model showcasing NEO’s fashion range in a fun and engaging way. By touching hotspots on the window the shopper can make the mannequin show product details, interact with the product and make playful actions and movements.


It's been around since 2009, but we still love the multi-touch interactive wall at the Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas.  It's an 18- x 4-foot touch wall that enables up to six guests to simultaneously surf through the outfit's expansive memorabilia collection, with options to zoom and flick through oodles of images. Obscura claims that it just might be the world's highest resolution interactive display available to the public, with a trio of HD projectors beaming the content from behind the glass.


Tesco has set up what it calls an "interactive virtual grocery store" at Gatwick airport to persuade air travellers to buy food for delivery on their return home.  There are 10 digital displays around the airport's North Terminal departure lounge - four 'fridges' for perishables and six 'cupboards'. People can swipe the screens to browse 80 Tesco grocery products. Once theyhave found a product they want, they can add it to a shopping list using the barcode scanner in Tesco's smartphone app. "It's a chance to showcase what we can do to the 30,000 people a day who will depart from Gatwick’s North Terminal, many of whom will have a genuine need to fill their fridges when they get home," Tesco's internet retailing director, Ken Towle, said in a statement. The Gatwick pilot follows Tesco's launch of a virtual store in South Korea in 2011. South Korean commuters and customers shopped at bus stops and in subways by pointing phones at billboards.


When Benetton decided to find a new way to attract attention to their retail stores and their brand, they combined digital signage video walls with interactive technologies that encourages shoppers and passersby to engage in playful experimentation using their own images. It's a network of large high-definition videowalls, which transform traditional store windows into high-tech multimedia screens, giving rise to a new customer experience where the individual's approach becomes a participatory experience. 

Benetton Icon Stores, United Colors of Benetton's network of trendsetting shops, were recently revamped with the intention of becoming international focal points of fashion, web culture, publicly-participated multimedia experimentation and lifestyle.  The video walls coincided with a series of events in European design capitals, attesting the value that United Colors of Benetton ascribes to art, architecture and design: fundamental inspirations for the brand, and experiences to be actively shared, be it in museums, while shopping or just in everyday things.


Below are a few key frames from a concept piece created by students at Hyper Island, a design school in Sweden. It's basically an interactive shopping window where people walking by are in control of the video playing in the window. The concept itself was created two years ago but the technology to actually execute has finally arrived.  It conjurs up all sorts of interesting possibilities for engaging people in public spaces and drawing them into a brand experience.


Here's one of those very practical "Why didn't I think of that?" ideas.  It's basically a touch enabled window on the front of a real estate office that let's passersby browse multiple listings, select houses, and then go on virtual tours of the houses you're most interested in ...anytime of day or night.




Following the launch of its home coffee-making machines, Starbucks will soon be introducing vending machines on the streets in the UK, for passers-by to buy their favorite coffees. The new vending machines—called ‘Starbucks On The Go’—will offer 280 drink combinations from lattes to cappuccinos, and feature a touchscreen interface that customers can use to order and play a game while waiting for their drinks. According to the Daily Mail, fresh milk will be individually steamed, and the 100% Fairtrade Espresso coffee beans will be freshly ground for each drink. It is also said that the Starbucks On The Go vending machines will take less than a minute to make the coffees. (As if we don't have enough places to buy Starbucks coffee?!)


In the 'just for fun' column's a new twist on an old idea -- a photo booth that gives museum visitors the opportunity to frame themselves within 1960s poster art and take their souvenir home. After capturing a photograph of themselves, visitors can composite their image into an assortment of ’60s-inspired rock posters using zooming and positioning tools. These fun, colorful posters are available for purchase as prints or emails that can be sent directly from the booth.

These are just a handful of some of the interesting ways interactive technology is weaving its way into physical 3-dimensional environments.  If you'd like to discuss any of these applications, or talk about a specific project you have in mind, let us know.  We'd love to chat.

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