ARCHIVES: This is legacy content from before Industry Dive acquired Mobile Commerce Daily in early 2017. Some information, such as publication dates, may not have migrated over. Check out our topic page for the latest mobile commerce news.

Office Depot supplies augmented reality experience to increase basket size

Office Depot is revisiting the enhanced experience granted by augmented reality with a new back-to-school promotion that integrates bricks-and-mortar stores with an omnichannel shopping experience that taps the growing, loyal fan base of rock band R5.

By using this technology, brands can extend their packaging to introduce games, video or animation, and create holistically branded experiences. Using a smartphone and the Office Depot mobile app, shoppers can watch R5 come alive on their screen as band members offer shout-outs and then pose for a photo with the customer that fans can then share via social media.

“Today, shoppers are increasingly making purchases via their mobile devices, but they are also shopping in multiple ways and through multiple channels,” said Rick Polly, senior director of ecommerce program management at Office Depot, Inc.

“Our back-to-school campaign acknowledges this by taking an omni-channel approach to offer compelling content, products and services to customers when, where and how they shop, including in-store or via mobile.”

All-access pass
Office Depot is targeting Gen Z as influencers within their families’ decision-making process and looking at the band’s popularity as an opportunity to turn R5 advocates into brand advocates.

Office Depot’s omnichannel campaign builds off the success of a promotion with One Direction last year, which resulted in more than 150,000 downloads of the Office Depot app, and involved limited-edition, back-to-school supplies that featured the popular band. Shoppers then used AR technology to unlock exclusive video content of One Direction from codes embedded in the products.

This year the program was taken a step further by adding an additional layer of personalization. While last year’s content was also exclusive to the in-store experience, this year, when customers stand in front of the R5 in-store experience display, they become a part of the content, surrounded by members of R5 and, in effect, posing with members of the band.

Office Depot’s goal to offer exclusive customized content for shoppers to provide a compelling and engaging shopping experience – and further complement the company’s ongoing work to drive business-to-business and business-to-consumer sales online and via mobile.

“This year we’re providing a richer experience both in-store and through our app. It’s less about the products and more about immersing our shoppers into the experience, which they can then share with family and friends across social channels,” Mr. Polly said.

Real-time marketing
CPG companies are witnessing the early days of a profound transformation in interacting with consumers.  A number of coexisting tech and social trends are changing the way consumer product companies connect with shoppers and more importantly how shoppers interact with each other to influence buying decisions.

The acceptance of brands using AR gives agency to alter the way consumers perceive their environment, playing with senses through real or altered simulation. With its catalog last summer, IKEA demonstrated that the user experience is impressive and engaging.

Similarly, Pizza Hut is deploying AR and a hashtag campaign to help reintroduce a menu favorite, Cheesy Bites pizza, as part of its partnership with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles around the upcoming reboot of the film.

The recent growth of social networking represents an increasingly popular channel of recommending product and services not only to friends but also a less immediate and broader audience.  Retailers are more actively trying to engage with consumer through social networking because its immediacy and interaction strengthens the experience and makes sharing opinions on products or services easier.

Fewer consumers are restricted to one-on-one interactions tethered to computers in advocating or criticizing products. The word-of-mouth advocacy has spread beyond physical interactions or conversations to include social networking aided by mobile access.

“We see engagement via the app as very powerful to the path-to-purchase experience,” Mr. Polly said.

“The campaign also provides a fun, easy-to-use and engaging way to introduce our mobile app to some of our store customers who might not have had the opportunity to try it yet.”

“The augmented reality feature is embedded within our Office Depot mobile app, where customers can purchase products and services, store gift cards and loyalty cards, and view their purchase history.”

Final Take
Michelle is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York