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REI rewards consumers with augmented reality scavenger hunt

Outdoor apparel and accessories retailer REI is using an augmented reality application to let consumers win prizes and drive in-store traffic to its new New York location.

The “Find Out NYC” REI campaign is using iPhone and Android apps to let users unlock content on out-of-house signage around New York. In addition to entering to win prizes, consumers can also learn about  outdoor activities in the city and explore REI’s new New York location.

“REI recognizes that many of our customers are tech-savvy,” said Bethany Hawley, spokeswoman for REI, Kent, WA.

“New York is a unique market for REI and we wanted to make it easy to bring the outdoors to an urban environment through technology,” she said.

Mobile landscape
Using the app, users can locate 400 REI posters around New York to scan.

There are six different posters with unique outdoor scenes that consumers can find.

Once consumers find a poster, they can point their smartphone at the poster to capture the headline.

Users are then taken to a mobile-optimized page where they can tilt their handset around to display a nature scene.

Pictures of the outdoor gear prizes are placed around the scene and users can tap on them to win them.

For each prize that a consumer unlocks, they also have a chance to be entered to win a grand prize for two to Costa Rica.

Each poster is branded with the REI logo and a picture of the new New York Soho location.

In addition to entering to win prizes, users can also learn more about the store, including store hours and the address.

Urban jungle
In addition to promoting the REI store, the goal of the scavenger hunt is to educate users about the outdoor opportunities and activities available in New York.

The campaign also hits straight-on with REI’s tag line, which is “find out.”

By using a scavenger hunt that uses augmented reality to leverage its print materials, REI is encouraging consumers to combine the brand’s message with the outdoors, which is a smart move for the retailer.

REI has centered its mobile strategy thus far around apps.

For example, REI recently partnered with U.S. Bank to increase membership to REI’s loyalty program with an app that took users through the step-by-step process of applying for a card (see story).

“The goal is to introduce REI SoHo in a fun and unique way by bringing the outdoors into New York,” Ms. Hawley said.

“The app targets New Yorkers that have a love for the outdoors and active adventures,” she said.

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