- Tilly's, the teen retailer with 221 stores in the U.S., launched a mobile scavenger hunt this week that urges shoppers to visit its stores and win discounts, according to documents made available to Mobile Marketer. The promotion uses augmented reality (AR) to let app users search stores for prizes.
- Shonduras, the online star with more than 1 million subscribers on his YouTube channel, is hosting the contest and frequently hints to mobile users where to collect virtual coins in stores.
- Android and iOS users who collect enough coins are then offered prizes and discounts, as Shonduras demonstrates in a YouTube video. The scavenger hunt runs August 1-14.
Tilly's is demonstrating how retailers can use smartphone technology to lure consumers into stores by hosting an entertaining AR game and partnering with a YouTube star who appeals to teens. The lighthearted effort encourages consumers — particularly young ones who are familiar with both the emerging tech and Shonduras — to engage with the brand.
The in-store scavenger hunt is another twist on the idea of motivating offline behavior with an online campaign, bridging the two landscapes that many marketers are working to connect as consumers grow increasingly attached to their mobile devices.
Seek, an AR application that rewards mobile treasure hunters with prizes, Universal Pictures and Cinemark theaters teamed up in May to promote the Tom Cruise reboot of "The Mummy" with a campaign to drive audiences to theaters, according to a press release by the company. The app placed virtual Egyptian coffins at more than 300 Cinemark theaters that could be opened via smartphones to win a real-world prize.
AR usage is estimated to grow 30% this year to 40 million people in the U.S. and reach 54.4 million people by 2019, according to eMarketer. Snapchat and Facebook are helping to drive growth in AR adoption with the use of lenses and masks in their camera features as a low-cost way to experiment with and drive interest in emerging AR technologies. A February International Data Corporation report predicts businesses will spend nearly $14 million on AR and virtual reality in 2017, up 130.5% from last year.