Interactive Window Advertising
Clothes Maketh the Mannequin
By Stephanie Kropkowski, Director of Marketing and Sales, KioWare.
Columbia Sportswear's Interactive Storefront Window
Columbia Sportswear, founded in 1938 in Portland, Oregon, is one of the largest outerwear manufacturers in the world and a leading seller of skiwear in the US. Long established as a leading global manufacturer of quality outerwear, Columbia more recently opened branded stores as part of its direct-to-consumer retail strategy and push to build brand awareness. The interactive display window is a centrepiece of this strategy, allowing consumers to engage with the brand in a fun and highly interactive way.
The store also contains web kiosks, which allow customers to sign up for a customer loyalty program, Tech Totems – which demonstrate how product technology works – and digital signage that carries simple animation and company branding.
A well-recognized icon of the company, Gert Boyle, the tyrant enforcing strict product standards, has appeared in Columbia’s advertising for more than 20 years. Her image was a perfect fit for the start page of the large interactive store window. The image draws passersby into the store in an area well-known for its outdoor attractions and activities. Arriving airport passengers and potential outdoor enthusiasts are able to interact with the storefront window, viewing Columbia’s range of products and videos of the extreme elements from outdoor activities that the products are designed to endure. On either side of the screen, mannequins are wearing outfits presented on the start page. Displaying the products digitally and physically allows for a more complete user experience, as the user has the ability to see the physical product, watch it in action, learn more about it and make a purchase in-store.
The touchscreen glass also allows users to learn more about Columbia’s pioneers of the ‘Greater Outdoors’, inspirational athletes sponsored and promoted by the company for their unique passion in pursuing outdoor activities. Columbia has a firm belief that the outdoors is for everyone, and showcases its pioneers of the ‘Greater Outdoors’ to encourage the everyday person to be their own pioneer. The pioneers are featured on screen and in static signage surrounding the screen; in all of the imagery they are wearing the same products featured on the screen. Users can touch a picture of a pioneer, find out more about that athlete and what products he or she uses. For example, prominently displayed on the start page is Rachael Scdoris, a pioneer of mushing. Scdoris competes in the Iditarod Dog Sled Race, 1,161 miles of blizzards, sub-zero temperatures, and unpredictable terrain. She does all this and is legally blind. Users can find out more about the cold weather gear Scdoris uses to help her finish the race.
Scdoris and the other pioneers are also displayed on the kiosks throughout the store. Additionally, these kiosks are used to show a portion of their website in-store. The kiosks also allow customers to sign up for the greater rewards program, which sends special promotions and deals to those customers. An added benefit of these kiosks is that employees can learn about new products from them.
Customers are able to learn about the technology behind the products at the Tech Totem station. The purpose of the Tech Totem is to simplify complex technologies by displaying how the product technology works. For example, Columbia’s waterproof/ breathable OmniTech fabric allows air to pass through but inhibits the passage of water. The Tech Totem station has a physical demonstration of this and contains a digital aspect that shows videos of OmniTech apparel in use.
Finally, digital signage is also displayed throughout the retail store. Using simple animation and headlines, the store is able to show more content than with static imagery as well as reinforce the company message and branding throughout the store.
The technology involved behind the interactive projects utilises KioWare Kiosk Basic Software. The software secures the kiosks and the interactive window, ensuring that the application is up and running 24/7, making the technology accessible even when the store is closed. KioWare’s attract loop feature is used to keep content fresh, rotating through different pioneer commercials, film previews and brand imagery.
The projects have been very successful for Columbia Sportswear and the interactive window continues to receive a lot of attention. Columbia has been satisfied with the traffic measured; people even return to experience the window again. Because of this success, the company has expanded the project to its Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and plans to implement the window in its retail store in Germany next year.
Columbia’s message is clear: the outdoors is for everyone, and the product technology is available to make it happen for the everyday person. It conveys this message through a myriad of technology that shares inspirational pioneer athletes, product technology and rewards programs.
Monday, September 7, 2009