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Moosejaw hikes up mobile sales with VR-enabled shopping app

Sportswear retailer Moosejaw is taking advantage of VR commerce by rolling out a triple-threat virtual reality application, allowing consumers to experience a slew of outdoor activities, participate in mobile contests with shareable results and shop featured products.

The retailer, which has a strong online presence and houses brands including Patagonia and The North Face, is offering customers new 360-degree and virtual reality experiences designed to incite pre-shopping excitement. Individuals can download the Moosejaw VR app to virtually climb or camp in the Moab Desert, among other settings, while participating in mobile contests to win sportswear gear and gift cards.

“Bricks-and-mortar retailers have the ‘touch advantage’ over online retailers, which enables consumers to physically hold and interact with the product,” said Michael Dub, partner at DXAgency.

“As such, with virtual reality, not only can an online retailer replicate the in-store physical experience, but can easily scale and expand the product experience by allowing the consumer to interact with the product in an entirely new, fun, and engaging setting.”

Personal VR getaways
Action enthusiasts can download the Moosejaw VR app for iPhone devices to virtually experience a plethora of outdoor activities, such as climbing in national parks and running on trails. Videos can be watched with a cardboard viewer or VR headset.

Individuals without a headset or viewer can enable 360-degree view to watch the clips directly on their smartphones. Consumers can also visit Moosejaw’s Web site to request a limited-edition cardboard viewer with any purchase.

All videos are free of charge. Moosejaw regularly updates the app with content, meaning that users can turn on their notifications to prevent from missing out on a new experience.

In addition to virtually exploring geographic locales, Moosejaw VR users can enter to win the various accessories and gear featured in each video. Individuals must look out for clues and subsequently answer questions for a chance to win the products.

Users’ game statistics will also appear in the app’s leaderboard, which awards badges to players for each milestone reached.

Individuals wanting to earn bragging rights can share their statistics on social media to receive bonus contest entries, giving them an extra incentive to keep playing.

Additionally, those who complete a new contest within 48 hours will earn the opportunity to receive a $500 Moosejaw gift card.

These types of strategies may be effective for retailers seeking to bolster in-app engagement and give consumers reason to regularly come back.

“Moosejaw’s customers are tech-savvy explorers, always looking for the latest outdoor gear and experiences,” said Eoin Comerford, CEO of Moosejaw. “Virtual reality is the cutting edge of mobile and digital, so we wanted to bring that to our customers, combined with the outdoors and the Moosejaw ‘Madness.’

“Our mobile strategy is critical because mobile traffic accounts for more than 33 percent of our traffic and 20 percent of our online revenue,” he said. “But beyond revenue, mobile is how our customer interacts with the world though email, social, texting, gaming and more.

“Moosejaw needs to be part of that world and that conversation to stay engaged with our core customers.”

The growing number of brands leveraging virtual reality is opening the door to VR commerce, which marketers are tapping to showcase products out of bricks-and-mortar contexts and offer in-store shoppers unique customer experiences (see story).

Cycling up shopping frenzies
Moosejaw fans can get their hands on the latest sportswear gear from brands including Patagonia and The North Face by shopping the retailer’s entire inventory within the VR app.

The app can also be leveraged while flipping through the Moosejaw catalog. Users can look out for scannable codes that will unlock extra content containing contest clues.

This gives individuals an incentive to interact with the catalog and potentially stumble upon a must-have item, which they may then purchase right on their smartphones.

Tapping virtual reality-enabled commerce is a smart move for a sportswear retailer, as many fitness fans will be likely to engage with the action-packed experiences and see how specific gear holds up in lifelike scenarios.

Several other major retailers have also innovated in this space.

EBay Australia recently teamed up with retail brand Myer to bring a forward-thinking way of shopping to consumers in the form of a virtual reality department store, enabling consumers to use a special viewer to inspect products before completing their purchase via the eBay app (see story).

“I expect that Moosejaw will begin to see its key performance indicators improve once the app has achieved download scale,” DXAgency’s Mr. Dub said.

“In addition to straightforward conversion rates improving due to the immersive experience, I expect that the evergreen engagement levels will also increase as consumers view the app as a game (complete with a sweepstakes), increasing the likelihood of more frequent visits and sales.”