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Lacoste?s augmented reality in-store app lacks potential

French apparel label Lacoste is taking in-store shoppers on a virtual experience with an augmented reality application inviting users to scan their smartphone and digitally try-on the brand?s trainer shoes. 

The tool allows shoppers to avoid waiting in line and removing their shoes and can also be used for direct purchasing and social sharing. However, users are unable to use the app without being in-store, defeating a tangible use for the augmented experience.


?Augmented reality, when correctly utilized, can play an important role in improving the customer experience through seamless functionality,? Said Lisa Hu, vice president of business development at Blippar, New York. ?However, continuous and effective consumer education is key to creating a streamlined user experience. AR is lost on a user if they don't know how to trigger it. With the right combination of utility and consumer education, we've seen the value of AR exceed the value and user experience of traditional click through advertising.?

Ms. Hu is not affiliated with Lacoste but agreed to comment as an industry expert. 

Lacoste did not comment by press deadline.

In-store versus virtual
Located in-store, users can track images of the crocodile logo and fit the image on their screen to activate. Once the image is activated, shoppers will see a clear representation of what the shoe will look like while wearing it.

The app uses in-store POS to activate interactive 3D product models and was built by digital innovations agency Engine Creative.

The app has been constructed to incorporate more products, as Lacoste will likely further its capabilities to continue the mobile relationship with its younger shoppers.

The apparel label has apparently found a use for AR in-store, likely aiming to attract a younger audience with a fun edge, but it is questioned how useful the app is if its limits are in stores. 

Perhaps the app, in addition to mobile ordering, would lend more purpose and convenience for shoppers if it were accessible outside stores.

Integrating mobile
Lacoste has prioritized its mobile presence in recent years through social campaigns and the use of QR codes.

The apparel label and retailer Sears both invited Instagram selfies from dads in anticipation of Father?s Day on June 15.

While Sears offered the winning participant a vacation and other entrants member points, Lacoste posted winners on its Instagram account. Both companies likely saw their Instagram communities grow from the campaigns, but those who submitted to Sears were asked to go the extra mile by posting on its Web site and becoming a member.

Lacoste?s marketing technique was done on a smaller scale to accrue user-generated content. The apparel label requested submissions on Instagram, asking consumers to tag a picture of dad in his Lacoste polo and use the hashtag #CelebratingDad. The best submissions were featured on the brand?s Instagram page (see story).

In 2012, Lacoste equipped its static print ads with a custom QR code that let readers shop the latest looks from the retailer?s fall collection.

The QR code-enabled ads were used as part of its fall/winter 2012 campaign for the Unconventional Chic line of products. The ads ran in the September issue of Elle magazine (see story).

Given Lacoste's most recent attempts of integrating mobile into its marketing strategies, it is agreed that the app would be more valuable if it were accessible outside the store.

?We're continuing to see more brands and retailers across all industries look to augmented reality as a means of not only engaging with customers through entertaining content but also simplifying the commerce experience, which was likely Lacoste's goal for this app,? Ms. Hu said. ?AR is an especially effective tool for apparel brands offering shoppers the opportunity to virtually try on items then seamlessly follow through with the transaction within the app. 

?In-store AR experiences work well because they engage the shopper when they're already further along the customer journey close to a purchase decision, but we've also found that consumers react to AR very positively when they can trigger the experience anywhere they would bring their mobile devices, such as in-store, at home and on the go.?

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon, editorial assistant for Mobile Marketer, New York