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Office Depot ramps up back-to-school promotion via augmented reality

Office Depot is leveraging mobile with a limited-edition line of back-to-school supplies this year that gives consumers an incentive to not only use their mobile device in-store, but also download the retailer’s mobile application.

The office-supplies retail chain has partnered with musical band One Direction on a line of school supplies for back-to-school shoppers as part of an anti-bullying campaign. An augmented reality component that complements the program has been rolled out to the company’s iPhone app.

“Office Depot is leveraging augmented reality to deliver a highly contextual mobile experience to the end user,” said Gabriel Cabrera, business head for mobile at Office Depot, Delray Beach, FL.

“The objective is to add another layer of interactivity to the exclusive, limited-edition product collection,” she said.

“It’s not just beautiful, highly functional product, but also a portal into something Directioners love tremendously – content of the band behind the scenes.”

Augmented shopping
Consumers can access the augmented reality feature from the homepage of Office Depot’s app under the Bring It To Life tab.

The app then uses the mobile device’s camera to line up the school supplies products within a frame.

When the app recognizes a product, a video that showcases the band begins and gives users more information about the partnership between Office Depot and One Direction.

Inking ties

When the video finishes, the app pulls in a landing page from Office Depot’s mobile site. The microsite includes a link to a sweepstakes that consumers can enter to see One Direction live in concert.

This is not the first time that Office Depot has relied on mobile to elevate the in-store experience.

For example, the retailer rolled out on-product QR codes at the beginning of this year to help consumers get organized (see story).

Additionally, the retailer used mobile snap codes in 2011 to dole out $500,000 in gift cards as part of a back-to-school promotion (see story).

Right direction

Mobile loyalty
Office Depot has also updated its mobile applications to integrate with the company’s new loyalty program.

The app has been updated to include a new section that lets consumers add their Rewards card number to store their loyalty card digitally.

The app tallies a user’s points to remind consumers how many points they have before and after their shopping trips.

Once a user has synced their Rewards card with the app, they can show their mobile device to a store employee at the point-of-sale to accumulate their points.

“Office Depot recently unveiled its new Office Depot Rewards program and as part of the program it was important to customers to have the ability to see their status whenever it was convenient for them,” said Adriana Vethencourt, director of loyalty and credit marketing at Office Depot.

“Office Depot will continue to update its communication vehicles as the business and customer’s need evolves,” she said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson  is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York