Goldrun Augmented Window Shopping

This article is a contribution from Arvind Ramachandran, a second year MBA student at the Indian Institute of Management in Calcutta.


The World Wide Web has become passé. Now I know that’s a big statement to make, but just hear me out. Nowadays, marketers around the world are tuned into the World Wide Web on an unprecedented scale. Most brands today have a website and significant presence on social media forums. The brands which don’t are fast playing a game of catch-up, with ever increasing contests, events and other forms of consumer engagement online. So, if most of the competition has already started occupying the digital space, then what next for marketers?

In steps augmented reality. Augmented reality (AR) platforms offer marketers the unique opportunity to enrich and enhance the consumer’s brand experience. It helps integrate the potential benefits offered by the internet with the consumer’s real environment. Sounds confusing? Let me explore this in a bit more detail.

Augmented reality, as the name suggests, attempts to augment or enhance your physical environment by adding computer generated input and content to the world around you. It would allow marketers to place virtual products, markers and other forms of brand promotion in the consumer’s environment. How would the consumer be able view this content? Generally, augmented reality projections can be viewed through head mounted displays, spatial displays or using handheld devices. Handheld devices are certainly the most convenient of the lot.

Now imagine being able to use the most ubiquitous handheld device of all, the mobile phone, to view augmented reality content. A host of AR platforms and mobile apps are now available which allow you to do just that. And going by how they are being used today, they may just be the next big thing in promotional campaigns.

One such campaign that I came across recently was carried out by fashion-retailer H&M in partnership with GoldRun (, an AR platform startup. The mobile app allowed people to view and take pictures with virtual garments placed in their environment and in return, they were awarded with discounts and offers. A promotion of this nature holds immense potential as it takes consumer engagement to a new level and makes participation more exciting and enjoyable. And by allowing you to share your pictures and gifts on Facebook, these apps hold the potential to integrate your World Wide Web experience with your real environment and transform your world into one hyper-connected experience. Basically, you would be able to interact with virtual goods in real surroundings and then share your experience online in the digital space. Sounds cool, right?

The best part is, you can now become part of this experience, just at the touch of a button, by using these apps on your smart phone. Why is this important? For the same reason the World Wide Web and mobile phones have now become integral parts of your everyday life. Augmented reality platforms hold the potential to extend the benefits accrued from the internet to the user’s real world. With marketers cashing in on the opportunities presented by AR platforms, consumers would be provided with better options and thus benefit from promotional activities carried out in this space. Also, becoming part of this exciting new space would provide common folk like you and me with a chance to explore and become part of a truly unique augmented reality experience.

The possibilities and opportunities which the Augmented Reality space offers are limitless. And the fact that this unique experience is now available at the touch of a button, thanks to mobile AR apps like GoldRun, provides a truly compelling reason for you to engage and become part of the AR experience.

Metaio’s Markerless Shopping Experience with

No over-the-shoulder backside check, but it’s better than staring at a catalog or webpage.

“This is the first truly instant online dressing room and as opposed to other augmented reality applications no markers or uploads needed,” said Noora Guldemond, head of sales & marketing for metaio. “We believe this application provides an enhanced interactive online shopping experience for the consumer.  We are very excited to be working with Hearst Magazines Digital Media on delivering this unique shopping tool.”

Augmented Makeup Gets a Little Bit Better

A couple of months ago, I wrote about a Korean magic mirror that lets you try on makeup. I thought the results were less than satisfactory:

Well, the Japanese have tamed the virtual makeup down. Created for cosmetic giant Shiseido by Fujitsu, the following application can be found in kiosks across Tokyo:

More details on Engadget

And, if you are not lucky enough to live in East Asia, Walmart and the British drugstore chain Boots are piloting the following kiosk by EZFace. Unfortunately, it works on a static image and doesn’t augmented live video feed, so it’s not really AR.

iButterfly – Augmented Coupons with Wings

I really fancy this next iPhone app. It’s called iButterfly and it transforms the habit of collecting coupons into a fun little game. Created by Japan’s Mobile Art Lab, the app tasks its users with catching virtual butterflies , each representing one or more coupons. You can even share
“butterflies” with your friends via Bluetooth.

Though the technology is not overwhelming (GPS based), the overall execution looks great, see for yourself:

Via MobileBehavior

AR for the Environmentally Aware Shopper

This next augmented reality concept , named FoodTracer, comes to us from Italian Giuseppe Costanza, as his final year project for MA Communication Design at Central Saint Martins. And it’s quite an impressive final project!
Aimed to give consumers more information about the food products they are buying (such as their carbon footprint and where they were produced), while minimizing packaging, FoodTracer is a bright idea on how AR can make the world a tad better. Users would be able to access the information that concerns them, compare and bookmark several products, and later examine their shopping history at home. Here’s one of Costanza’s imagined use cases:

When Susan goes shopping in her usual supermarket she knows where organic products are placed so she can quickly pick the right products, but today she went shopping in a new supermarket where products are displayed in a different way, she doesn’t have the time to check on the packaging which product is organic so she uses FoodTracer to easily spot organic apples.

Costanza even built a demo application for the Symbian mobile operating system, using embeded markers and d-touch nice looking markers that hide in the products’ logos, as can be seen in the following video:

Many more details over here.