An Online Fashion Boutique Integrates The Webcam Social Shopper in to Every Piece of Clothing’s Product Detail Page.
Beginning today visitors to online fashion boutique Banana Flame will see that the retailer has rolled out Zugara’s Augmented Reality E-Commerce software “The Webcam Social Shopper” (WSS) to every product detail page on the site. Two elements make this WSS launch different:
Banana Flame has integrated WSS as an advanced product-viewing tool for their shoppers, not as a marketing campaign. Every single piece of clothing on Banana Flame’s site will give shopper’s access to WSS via a seamlessly integrated “see how it looks” button. (screenshot below)
It’s the first time the recently released “Plug & Play” version of WSS has been licensed.
WSS utilizes several pieces of emerging technology to turn shopper’s webcams into interactive “mirrors”, providing online shoppers with that “at the rack moment” where they grab a hanger off the rack, hold the piece of clothing up to themselves and turn to a friend (and/or the mirror) to ask “what do you think, is this me?”
With WSS the Banana Flame experience now allows shoppers to:
Immediately see if a piece of clothing’s color/style is right for them
Snap photos and share looks with friends to get instant feedback (via Facebook, email, or Twitter)
Match their existing wardrobes with potential new purchases
Have a more fun and rewarding online shopping experience
“Our customers are young, savvy, followers of up to the minute trends and lovers of all things stylish. They grew up digitally”, said Emily Walker, Creative Director of Banana Flame. ‘‘Of course they love to shop in store, but with a heavy work load and an increasingly hectic way of life they’re choosing more and more of their favorite items online. As an online retailer, it’s critical to our business that we create the best and most enjoyable shopping experiences available to customers, so that when they do choose to shop online, they do it with us. And that’s what the Webcam Social Shopper gives us, a brand building and personal shopping experience tailored to each individual that they will not only love but also return to time and time again.”
A few years ago the number of retailers that were integrating product-viewing features like zooming, product videos, and 360 degree spins were few and far between. Now these “advanced viewing features” are becoming common place and are irreplaceable elements of a shopper’s purchase validation process. In fact, data from Limelight Networks Inc. shows that these types of features make shoppers more likely to purchase, and more brand loyal. WSS is simply the next iteration of these types of tools, providing shoppers with more information, and subsequently more confidence in, their purchase decisions.
We recently launched our second and third Augmented Reality projects for Nestle and thought you might be interested in some of the details. This time we were tasked with concepting and developing two unique advergames for Juicy Juice. Like our first project (for Nesquik), Juicy Juice was interested in creating unique advergames that people can play within their webcams by utilizing their motion to play the game rather than traditional controllers (i.e. the mouse and/or keyboard).
Below are some details on the project, but to give some context around motion-based casual gaming we think it’s helpful to keep the following data points in mind:
1.3 billion people are on the Internet, and 510 million of them play casual games online. (link)
The Wii was the fastest selling console ever. (link)
Microsoft is selling Kinects faster than Apple sold iPads. (link)
GOAL/OBJECTIVE: To create two fun and non competitive advergames that will engage fans of Juicy Juice with the brand while educating them on the health benefits.
KEY PROJECT DIFFERENTIATOR: No barriers to entry for the gamer:
Markerless – The gamer does not need to print or find a marker to engage with the Augmented Reality experience.
No Downloads – It’s built in Flash, so the gamer is not forced to download anything prior to playing, they can start interacting immediately.
SOCIAL MEDIA INTEGRATION: Both games allow players to share their experiences (and photos) seamlessly on Facebook.
GAME SYNOPSIS #1: “Fruit Ensemble” is a rhythm based game where the player must use their hands to tap fruit (that appears randomly around them) in time with the music. Think “Whack-A-Mole”, only the “moles” appear in random places all around the player.
GAME SYNOPSIS #2: “Fruit Mixer Studio” let’s people tap fruit to mix and record unique beats that can be saved to the desktop or downloaded as a mobile ringtone.
We’d love to get your thoughts on these games in the comment section below. But if you’d like to discuss how we can help your brand or agency to create strategic Augmented Reality executions, please don’t hesitate to email us at info (at) Zugara (dot) com.
Our newest Augmented Reality project is now live. It’s a Motion Capture based Augmented Reality game we concepted and developed for Nestle called “Nesquik Factory”. “Nesquik Factory” puts people in the role of being a new hire that’s put to work filling Nesquik bottles. To be successful at the job the player must keep the production line flowing by making sure the right flavor of milk goes into the right bottle.
By utilizing our proprietary Motion Capture Augmented Reality Software, “ZugMO”, we are able to turn a standard webcam into an input device that translates a person’s motions in front of the camera into data that casual Flash games can utilize. And since the software was developed in Flash, not a proprietary platform, players won’t be turned off by a bulky download or the like. ZugMO enabled us to create an immersive experience for Nestle’s customers by turning their webcam’s video stream into the Nesquik Factory. Now, rather than using a mouse or keyboard to play the game, people are actually in the game itself and using their motions to fill the Nesquik bottles.
“Motion based gaming is already popular, but it’s really poised to explode over the next six months,” said Matt Szymczyk, CEO, Zugara. “The Wii is the fastest selling console in history, and both Sony and Microsoft are launching their entries into the motion based gaming market this year. People will be clamoring for these types of experiences, and with ZugMO, brands can meet that demand by creating incredibly dynamic and engaging online flash games. The great thing about creating online games to engage your audience is that people won’t need to purchase any expensive hardware to play. All they need is what they most likely already have, a computer and a standard webcam.”
“Nesquik Factory” was developed to be a social gaming experience. To help players share the fun with friends and family a “snapshot” is automatically taken at that exact instant they lose. Then, if they choose, players can easily share their snapshot (and their score) on Facebook.
“It was a fantastic experience working with Nestle, and quite frankly they really challenged us to ‘up our game,’” Matt said. “It was incredibly important to them that an actual bottle of Nesquik be recognized by the application to initiate the experience. In the past, this type of execution required that the client put a marker on their packaging, or the consumer downloaded a proprietary plug-in. Neither option was acceptable. As you’ll see when you play the game, we were able to meet this challenge and have the application recognize the iconic Nesquik bottle without a marker or a consumer download.”
Brands and agencies looking to either purchase the ZugMO Software Development Kit (SDK), or couple the SDK with our interactive marketing services like Nestle did can contact us at: info (at) Zugara (dot) com.
ABOUT ZUGARA Zugara is an employee owned Los Angeles based Augmented Reality Software developer. Founded in 2001 Zugara is the only Augmented Reality Software developer with an expertise in consumer engagement strategy, user experience design, and interactive production. This is because prior to restructuring as an Augmented Reality Software Developer in 2009, Zugara was an interactive marketing agency that created award winning work for Fortune 500 Brands like Reebok, Sony PlayStation, Toyota, Lexus, Casio, Red Bull and the U.S. Air Force.
In the Adweek article, I was quoted a few times specifically when it came to how brands are currently trying to acquire likes:
And three weeks ago, Borders had about 50,000 fans. It then offered a 33 percent-off discount in return for a Like. Its community now has 265,000 members.
But such ploys can backfire. Matthew Szymczyk, CEO of Zugara, says these aggressive strategies can pile up Likes from people who don’t have true brand affinity. In this way, he believes the Likes are tantamount to “false advertising” because a message goes out from the user who just wants to see a video or play a game-not because he’s interested in the brand itself.
Lionsgate, for example, is running a Facebook promo that requires liking the page for the summer blockbuster The Expendables in order to play a game related to the movie.
“You’re almost building a Ponzi scheme with Facebook Likes,” said Szymczyk. “Would you rather have 100,000 liking and broadcasting it or 5,000 who are real brand advocates?”
With that said, I’d like to explain a bit more with why I feel artificially accruing Facebook Likes to unlock content is a Ponzi scheme. When a user likes something on Facebook, this is then put in their friends feed and broadcast to their entire network that they’ve now liked something. After viewing the content they were forced to like to interact with, they might decide to unlike that brand/page or block any messages and updates from their feed. But when someone unlikes something, it in turn is not broadcast to their network in the same way a like is. So only positive likes are broadcast out which can artificially increase a pages number of likes. When you unlike a page, it only shows up as a decrease in overall likes. Compounding this is that the “Unlike” option is not easy to find and relegated to an obscure area on the bottom left side of the page.
This method of accruing a large number of likes of a brand or page is similar to a Ponzi scheme because it’s using previous people’s likes (positive and not negative) to then increase their overall numbers. So you now might have 10,000 people that have liked your page, but how many are in fact real advocates or even interested in interacting with you? They might have been forced to like your brand to view content. On the flip side, there are some very well done Facebook pages by brands that do a great job of engaging their fan base and allowing their page to grow organically. Vitaminwater is a great example of leveraging the Facebook community and their fans to full effect.
However, this current trend of artificially building likes is a slippery slope as brands look to embrace Facebook Pages over their own microsites. Clouding the issue even more is the weight put against likes and what their value is. There was a time when overall site traffic numbers were the main metric for interactive marketing. As the field matured, it became more important to track true engagement by a visitor outside of just a visit. With Facebook likes, it’s important that brands look at fan engagement much more than their overall numbers. Until then, the number of likes a brand or page might have is more akin to a digital pissing contest than to a true read of how many people are actively engaged with that brand or page.
As most of you know, yesterday, Facebook launched “Facebook Places” (their foray into the location based app marketplace). And even though Places is currently “coming soon” to “my region” (which is the tiny town of Los Angeles by the way), I can promise you that I’ll soon be done with Foursquare and moving forward with Places. And my guess is you will too. Here’s why: My friends and family are already on Facebook. It’s that simple. At the end of the day a community site, just like an offline community, is about the people. The power of these apps is not the “game-play” it’s the people/community and the experiences that they are subsequently able to facilitate. Imagine checking in to a restaurant, and seeing that an old friend and his wife just checked in at the bar across the street. Wouldn’t you meet them for a drink? Which would be more important: Minor details in the way the app functions, or the access it gives you to your community? I think for most people, it will be the later.
As we’ve seen, community sites take years to “tip” and unfortunately for Foursquare (and their competitors) they just didn’t have a large enough window. Will some people stick with the app they’re currently using? For the time being, probably. Will the “masses” adopt one of those apps now? Doubtful. Why would they use another application when the same functionality (in their eyes) is built in to an app they already have (let alone, most people currently have no idea what the heck Foursquare and Gowalla are…)?
I think we’ll see an exodus, as people that use a different app migrate to where the people are, Facebook. And while Foursquare was a brilliant idea, my guess is that it will soon be remembered fondly… the location based “Friendster” if you will.
We Are Organized Chaos (WAOC) is Zugara’s (www.zugara.com) interactive marketing and advertising blog where we’ll be featuring some great projects and discussing upcoming trends in the digital world. Work — good and bad — will be critiqued. Hope you’ll enjoy reading our insights and thoughts on interactive.