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Brian Atwood marries in-store, mobile engagement via QR codes

October 26, 2012


Footwear designer Brian Atwood is bolstering the shopping experience at its first New York flagship store through QR codes that connect smartphone and tablet users to video content.

The 1,500-square-foot flagship store is located at 655 Madison Avenue in New York. Mr. Atwood is sharing personal insight on his favorite pairs of shoes available at the store through the QR codes in an effort to create a museum-like experience, per the brand.

"Through this campaign Brian Atwood is transforming consumers’ perception of its products from a lifeless shoe or handbag into a museum-worthy masterpiece," said Shuli Lowy, client services and marketing manager at Ping Mobile, Beverly Hills, CA.

"Mr. Atwood understands that in order for shoppers to truly comprehend the value of his product, they must first come to appreciate and understand its artistic muse, its impeccable design and its innovative features," she said.

"However, most of us do not have the patience to read through a five-paragraph essay on a pair of boots, so instead Mr. Atwood wove these messages into an interactive store experience, creating an entertaining way to learn more about his chef-d'oeuvres."

Ms. Lowy is not affiliated with Brian Atwood, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Brian Atwood, which is owned by Jones Group, did not respond before press deadline.

Dress code

QR codes near certain pairs of shoes offered at the New York flagship store reveal videos featuring Mr. Atwood.

Consumers can use their smartphone to access the content as well as one of the iPads available in-store.

The videos take on a dated feel. Each one looks as if it is coming from an old movie projector.

In one video, Mr. Atwood describes the design process of the Tribeca shoe.

Tribeca QR code video

Another video is about the inspiration for the Encanta shoe.

Encanta QR code video

Also, the brand is encouraging in-store transactions by attaching "655 Madison Avenue" plaques to the soles of all of the shoes offered at the store.

Consumers can shop limited-edition and store-exclusive products at the store. They can also take part in services such as private shopping and a made-to-order program.

Brian Atwood is using additional digital channels to drive foot traffic to its first flagship store. These include email, Facebook and Twitter hashtag #ChicHaven.

Much of the digital push centers on images of the boutique and notable personalities – Mr. Atwood himself and “Oscar PR Girl” Erika Bearman included – at the store.

Erika Bearman at the flagship store 

Meanwhile, Brian Atwood launched its first advertising campaign and a digital flagship earlier this year (see story).

Mobile magic

Other marketers are using mobile touch points to boost physical brand venues including exhibits and retail locations.

For instance, precision-cut crystal maker Swarovski enticed public involvement in its Shanghai exhibit with mobile and social touchpoints that interacted with local Chinese consumers as well as those around the world.

The brand used QR codes and Chinese foursquare-esque mobile application Jiepang along with country-specific social media channels to enhance its Sparkling Secrets exhibit through the month of July (see story).

In addition, department store chain Bloomingdale’s rolled out an iPhone and Android app earlier this year to let fashion-savvy consumers shop the latest trends, check prices and read product reviews.

The app’s in-store bar code scanner lets customers view additional product details and read customer reviews (see story).

Mobile could be a key driver for interactions as well as purchases. In fact, 27 percent of respondents in a new report by Accenture are likely to make a purchase on their smartphone or tablet while shopping in-store (see story).

"QR codes are a great way to make in-store experiences more substantive and bring inanimate products to life," Ms. Lowy said. "Brian Atwood’s placement of QR codes next to each item allows visitors to choose which products peak their interest and engage in a tailor-made conversation with Brian about those specific products."

"The goal is not simply to link things to mobile, but rather to make the in-store experience interactive and personal," she said. "Mobile phones are one of the most personal items we carry around and, therefore, mobile experiences leave indelible impressions in our minds.

"The choice-based component of scanning a QR code also creates an illusion that the shopper began the brand dialogue, further personalizing the experience and creating a more striking impression than an in-store flat screen would."

Final Take
Tricia Carr, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York