Sportswear brand Puma opened its first North American flagship store in New York with interactive displays that activate augmented reality (AR) experiences. As part of the promotion for its new line of basketball shoes, Puma’s mobile web app lets customers scan QR codes on signs and shoe tags to see branded content featuring Puma’s feline mascot.
This types of flagship stores help to set the tone for a brand and can become key destinations for shoppers, especially tourists looking for merchandise they can’t find online. To appeal to tech-savvy young adults who often use the smartphones as a shopping tool, brands need to create immersive in-store experiences that add to the spectacle of browsing in stores. AR adds an interactive dimension to that experience as brands like Puma prepare for the coming holiday season with fanciful window displays and decorations aimed at luring shoppers inside. The immersive experiences will run through January 2020.
AR technology, which combines digital images with a smartphone’s camera views, has only been used by 5% of shoppers but does show promising growth potential. Twenty-five percent of surveyed consumers said they’ll likely use the technology for shopping in the next year, per a study by researcher GfK. The rollout of high-speed 5G mobile service is predicted to drive growth of AR shopping to 100 million consumers by next year, researcher Gartner estimates.
This isn’t Puma’s first foray into including AR activations in its marketing. The brand in April released its limited-edition LQD Cell Origin Air sneaker with an app that recognized the shoe when scanned with a smartphone, instead of relying on a printed QR code.