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Norma Kamali mobilizes fashion exhibit with 2D bar codes to engage consumers

February 19, 2010

Norma Kamali's store window

Norma Kamali's store window

Fashion designer Norma Kamali used 2D bar codes to make her boutique more interactive during Fashion Week in New York.

The designer tapped Scanbuy to place ScanLife codes throughout her flagship store. The codes link to videos about items and give consumers and Fashion Week attendees the chance to win free prizes.

“[The strategy was] to integrate technology, fashion and retail to create an action,” said Norma Kamali, the New York-based designer and botique owner.

Ms. Kamali is credited with inventing many popular designs including the sleeping bag coat, a collection of styles created from actual silk parachutes and high-heeled sneakers.

Mobile is in fashion
The designer sent out an invite that featured a ScanLife code via her blog at

The invite asked consumers to go to on their mobile browser to download the free application.

Store signage and a window display also asked consumers to download the application.

After scanning the 2D bar code paired with a specific item, consumers were sent videos, photos and press clippings telling the story behind the specific design. 

Each item is coded with a bar code. Here is what the display looked like:


Consumers were also chosen at random to receive free items such as trench coats and T-shirts.

The ScanLife promotion was targeted at consumers while they shopped and even those who pass by the store after it closed.

Ms. Kamali got the word out about her ScanLife program called “Artisan fashion meets state of the art technology” via invites on the blog and to other bloggers and members of the media.

Shirts with 2D bar codes were also available in Ms. Kamali’s store.

Modern mobile shopping
Ms. Kamali said integrating mobile technology addressed a number of challenges.

Using ScanLife let consumers learn about the product and take a pseudo-guided tour like in a museum.

Ms. Kamali used the giveaways as another opportunity to interact with and engage consumers.

Consumers were also able to make a direct purchase from the store display.

After scanning a 2D bar code and learning about the product, consumers could also buy an item from their mobile devices.

Ms. Kamali has a service called “Try before you buy” that ships a product to a consumer’s home the next day and gives them 48 hours to decide if they like it.

“This is a very modern way to shop,” Ms. Kamali said. “Which is made possible through ScanLife technology.”

“[We’ve seen] lots of fantastic response, lotto winners and happy visitors,” she said.

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Chirs Harnick is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach him at

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