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Buick test drives augmented reality to bolster holiday sales

December 15, 2011

The Buick Best Tech app in action

Buick is using an augmented reality application to let consumers interact with and buy the company’s 2012 LaCrosse model.

The automaker is using the in-store app at the Wired holiday pop-up store in New York where consumers can view and buy holiday gifts picked by Buick and Wired magazine. The app is powered by Aurasma.

“People are shopping differently and want to be able to buy things anywhere they are at any time,” said Jennifer Rapp, general manager at Aurasma, San Francisco.

Drive on mobile
Consumers who visit the Wired pop-up can download the special-branded Buick Best Tech app, which is available for iPhone, Android and iPad devices.

Consumers can also use the Aurasma app in the store.

Store associates have iPads to show consumers how the technology works and interact with the car.

Once opening the app, users point their devices at four places around the outside of the car with the Buick logo and name.

The app then uses image recognition and brings up a picture of a woman who explains more about the car.

Users can also unlock content from inside on the car’s counsel. Users can learn about the inside features and can choose an option to be taken to Buick’s mobile site to purchase the car.

In addition to learning about Buick’s car, users can also use the app to shop a collection of gifts picked by Buick and Wired magazine.

Each item for sale in the store has a picture next to it that users can scan to learn more about it.

Once scanned, a video of the product then plays on the screen with an option for consumers to buy the items.

Users can also tap icons to “like” Buick on Facebook or follow the company’s Twitter.

During Black Friday, Buick ran a sweepstakes to give users prizes for shopping and generated 42,000 scans around the store on Black Friday.

The Wired pop-up store is open until Dec. 24.

On-the-fly shopping
Augmented reality has recently seen a surge of mobile activity, especially with holiday campaigns.

For example, Starbucks recently launched an augmented reality campaign to let users interact with its holiday-themed products (see story).

In addition to Buick, Aurasma has also run campaigns with Panasonic, GQ magazine, Virgin Atlantic and Hyundai to help leverage traditional print campaigns.

For Aurasma, being able to connect an in-store experience with online shopping is particularly effective for holiday shoppers looking for last-minute items.

It also gives users a choice with how they want to buy something.

“Technology has changed the way people are shopping because digital is more integrated for consumers who don’t want to be confined to a store when buying something,” Ms. Rapp said.

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

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