Citizen Watch Store in New York Attracts Customers with AR Display

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(PRESS RELEASE) In the wake of the pandemic, consumer purchasing behavior has changed. Today, the great debate between shopping online and shopping in physical stores is intensifying again, thanks to new technologies offering new in-person experiences that combine the information-gathering power of the Internet with the excitement of being able to touch and try a product.

The latest example is the new Citizen Watch store in a Herald Square department store in New York City, which recently installed one of the world’s first consumer-facing augmented reality product displays. Taking advantage of LG Transparent OLED technology, the new retail display overlays compelling high-impact digital visuals on a watch display case to entice the viewer as it showcases the real watches behind the graphics.

The innovative retail project is the brainchild of Citizen Watch with Pac Team Group, Luminary Design Co. and LG Business Solutions, who each brought unique interests, requirements and expertise to the project. Located in one of Manhattan’s most recognizable and frequented outlets, Citizen Watch wanted to stand out from its competition while demonstrating its commitment to technology leadership.

“Our goal for this location was to present a very engaging sales video that doesn’t require a salesperson and effectively reflects the 360-degree digital product review that online shopping has made standard,” said Peter Barry, Director of Sales. merchandising operations and logistics at Citizen Watch Company of America. “Luminary Design and Pac Team Group created this one-of-a-kind storefront experience using cutting-edge LG display technology that very few consumers have seen before, and we immediately saw visible reactions of excitement and surprise. among visitors.

The challenge

Located right next to direct competitors, the store’s new Citizen Watch space had to do something unique to stand out and grab attention. Recognizing the compelling effects of living digital content, it was clear that a technological approach would be most appropriate for today’s buyers who expect clarity and modernity when seeking purchases or shopping. brand loyalty. For this, the store designers of Pac Team Group reached out to LG, who offered assistance in choosing the best products and also introduced the team to the digital experience experts at Luminary Design Co.

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“When LG and Pac Team approached Luminary with the challenge of creating a whole new kind of retail experience, we immediately knew LG Transparent OLED was the best tech for the job,” said Brian Beyt, Founder and president of Luminary Design.

“We envisioned an experience that combines the depth of online shopping with the tactile benefits of physical retail. The result is a captivating product showcase that elevates and transforms real watches through a coordinated dance of visual effects, practical product information and synchronized display case lighting. All of these combine to turn buying a watch into an informative and exciting new experience for customers, ”Beyt said.

The process

At first, the display was envisioned as a decorative element that would draw people into the store, where more information would be presented on traditional 75-inch digital screens. As teams reflected on and understood all of the LG Transparent OLED’s capabilities, it found a more central role in the store’s design and digital journey.

According to Antonio Schiano, vice president of project development at Pac Team Group, it was crucial that the store’s technology and digital content was transparent, easy to understand and did not hamper sales, while remaining passive so that customers could shop and learn as they please.

“As a high traffic site with significant sales potential and an extremely valuable branding opportunity, the customer experience needs to be fluid and allow for rapid transitions from learning to trying to buy,” Schiano explained. .

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“Being located right next to competitors in a department store,” he added, “the Citizen Watch store also needed a clearly differentiated aesthetic and vibe, including the color scheme, the lighting, spatial design and ultimately the feeling visitors have when they come in and leave. A surefire way to reach all of these brands was to use technology that hardly anyone had seen before, and Luminary was able to deliver this through its unique use of LG’s commercial displays.

Luminary has leveraged its experience with LG Transparent OLED technology to make it all but “disappear”. Beyt said, “We set out to create something that fits perfectly into the Pac Team retail environment – something that is unlike tech at all. When what appears to be an ordinary storefront suddenly turns into an immersive product demo like anything people have ever experienced, it creates a rare moment of real surprise and delight.

Incredibly, this whole new display and sales experience didn’t even require the creation of any new content, instead relying on a combination of revamped business assets and custom VFXs produced by the CSI Group. Dynamic animations move and shift from individual product features to full screen content takeovers, including even times when one half of the storefront is transparent while the other half is playing an exciting product video.

The visuals tie directly to the physical watches through carefully timed reveals using “transparent squares” in the video content. Once a watch is revealed, floating 3D animations emerge from the physical watches and fill the screen to offer larger-than-life 360 ​​° views of each model.

The result

Considered by all the companies involved to be one of the world’s earliest uses of an augmented reality storefront for consumers, it’s common for discussions about the installation to include phrases like “the next generation of physical retailing.” “. It’s easy to see why: Citizen Watch noted almost immediate increases in traffic volume and sale rates. For the company and its customers, the concept store is a success.

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“I think the success of this admittedly experimental store concept will push competitors to try to recreate our experience, or perhaps consider other cutting-edge technologies to improve the retail journey,” said Barry. “Internally, we have already recognized other ways of using LG Transparent OLED displays, even in our smallest stores. As customer expectations come and go, we’re always looking to see what happens next, and this semi-automated demo and sales system is perfect for promoting our vendorless products.

The final video is an almost 10-minute loop that examines the inner workings of Citizen’s famous watches, with the existing video re-used and modified to take advantage of the specific strengths of transparent display technology, including graphics that appear holographic. . The team at Luminary Design Co. described producing content for display as its own art form, as small details can make on-screen images magical in a way that no other technology can. display can not do.

According to Dan Smith, vice president of business development at LG Business Solutions USA, “This unique facility is a classic example of designers and creative artists finding innovative ways to harness new technologies and capabilities.

“Retailers and designers looking to reinvent in-person shopping in the digital age must be ready to embrace new technologies,” Smith said. “LG’s innovative commercial display technologies, including LG Transparent OLED, enable new types of sales interactions that capture the attention of customers and deliver tangible benefits for in-person shoppers. It is fascinating to witness the success of this project at Citizen Watch; kudos to everyone involved for breaking new ground in experiential retail.

Smith said that in the future, and possibly for other Citizen Watch stores, additional engagement features and tools may be added, including touchscreen capabilities and controls, automation based on proximity that changes content as a customer approaches the screen, and even a QR code. based interaction and screen control that does not require physical contact.

The last word

As Schiano of Pac Team Group noted, “the store has a pull that others just don’t have,” which generates valuable brand recognition and respect while increasing traffic and sales. subsequent sales.

While the technology is awesome and the experience thrilling, it’s crucial to remember that this is a retail store and all of this has a fundamental purpose. When asked what they hope visitors will take away from the one-of-a-kind retail experience, Citizen Watch was quick to respond, “We hope they remember. [and buy] watches. Thanks to LG, Pac Team Group, Luminary Design Co. and The CSI Group, this hope has come true.

For a video of the display in action, click here.

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