- Fashion brand Tommy Hilfiger launched a line of connected clothing outfitted with smart-chip technology that people can wear to participate in on-the-go experiences and earn rewards, according to Women's Wear Daily. and experiences for each wear.
- Each Tommy Jeans Xplore item has a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) tag that connects the products to a dedicated iOS app. Users are then incentivized to earn points based on how often the garment is worn, the number of visits to dedicated hot spots around the U.S. and whether the wearer participates in a Pokémon Go-style game to find heart-shaped branded icons on the app's map, according to TechCrunch.
- The app and connected clothing, which comes in men's, women's and unisex designs, aim to create a community of highly engaged micro-ambassadors for the brand, Tommy Hilfiger told WWD.
This kind of connected clothing technology allows Tommy Hilfiger to collect data and post-sale analytics on product usage that inform the future design process. At the same time, the clothing encourages some major brand engagement and interaction beyond traditional touchpoints. By creating reward experiences and interactive hot spots across the U.S., the app could bring Tommy fans together and create a community around the brand.
However, it's unclear whether consumers will actually want to buy these connected items and participate in the marketing ploy, even if they could win gift cards or exclusive merchandise. A key question for the brand will be consumer acceptance of the idea of being tracked while wearing its clothing. The personal information on the clothing's smart tags is separated and encrypted, which may be reassuring to some privacy-minded consumers. The brand lets people turn off the tags at any time and delete the data, Engadget reported.
Tommy Hilfiger's idea of rewarding customers for using a product isn't new, but does highlight how technology is giving brands greater abilities to strengthen customer loyalty with new kinds of incentives. Last fall, The North Face launched a jacket line that encourages wearers to get and stay active. As users continue to move, their smartphone tracks their activity to gradually unlock a new single from the musician Maggie Rogers. In May, Google and Levi's added ride-hailing alerts to its connected denim jacket that lets people control music, screen calls and get directions with a tap or brush of the cuff.
Fashion brands like Tommy Hilfiger, The North Face and Levi's have experimented with ways to incorporate technology into their products as consumers become more familiar with wearable tech, particularly fitness trackers and smartwatches that are continually adding new mobile features. The growth of the global wearables market is projected to grow to 200 million shipments by 2022 from 125 million this year as smartwatches become more popular, according to researcher International Data Corporation.