Ralph Lauren: A Virtual Store Experience That Will Change Shopping Forever



This holiday season, Ralph Lauren is focused on pivoting their approach. Given the nature of the world people are living in now, Ralph Lauren is re-thinking the global its holiday strategy by creating a holistic, digital-first approach— to bring the season to life in a unique, heartfelt and innovative way. The brand has launched first-to-market Snapchat logo scan feature for apparel to create a series of unique virtual programs across all touch points to engage consumers in new ways during the Holiday Season and beyond.

More to the point, for the first time ever, the Ralph Lauren store experience will be offered to a global audience through a unique hybrid of a brick-and-mortar and online shopping experience– the RL Virtual Store Experience.

This new way to shop allows consumers to virtually step into the elegant world of Ralph Lauren’s most iconic retail spaces around the world – in New York, Beverly Hills, Moscow, Paris and Hong Kong – and actually shop the store from the comfort of home.

In addition to the new virtual store experience, the brand is launching a virtual gaming experience and creating innovative, customizable merchandising-on-demand product.

In the uncertainty of the world today, what I find fascinating is that it is a digitally focused holiday campaign that features a family anchored in the belief that “family is who you love”, and is a celebration of optimism and togetherness and the notion that in the midst of questionable times, Ralph Lauren is reaching out for what matters most today.

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren aims to bring the magic of the holidays to life through a global marketing campaign that celebrates family, togetherness and unity. A series of immersive digital-first experiences. In short, the brand has cleverly reimagined holiday shopping by creating new ways to experience the brand.

The Interactive Polo Pony Scan with Snapchat

Ralph Lauren is launching a first-to-market program in partnership with Snapchat. Henceforth, this program will enable users to scan the iconic Polo Pony logo from embroidery and fabric to unlock a series of augmented reality experiences. The cool thing about it is that users will be able to scan any Polo Pony logo wherever it appears and in any medium – printed materials, shopping bags, digital executions, advertisements – and from apparel for the first time ever. Timed at the dawn of the shopping season, this innovative technology and accompanying holiday-inspired AR experience offers users the opportunity to discover Ralph Lauren all the way through point of purchase.

The RL Virtual Experience

The Ralph Lauren store experience will be offered to a global audience, through a hybrid brick-and-mortar and digital shopping experience– The RL Virtual Experience.

The good news for consumers is that it allows shoppers to virtually step into the world of Ralph Lauren’s most iconic retail spaces in New York, Beverly Hills, Paris and Hong Kong. The virtual store will feature the newest collections, along with antique and vintage offerings, all shoppable from the comfort of home. The program has already proven success increasing foot traffic through virtual visits by over 10x, with thousands of customers visiting every day. I recently shopped at the Ralph Lauren store on Worth Av in Palm Beach where I was informed that the store is soon to join the virtual modified path forward.

In addition, aligning with the company’s strategic priority to win over a new generation, a social-first execution of the experience will be available on Snapchat in the coming months. Users will be able to virtually enter our stores through a bespoke Snapchat lens and interact with creative elements and shop select pieces.

“Family Is Who You Love” Campaign

Ralph Lauren’s holiday campaign is an inspiring celebration of togetherness and features individual families to communities and groups across the world. The cast includes writer, director and producer Greg Berlanti and his husband Robbie Rogers; native American model and artisan Philip Bread and his family; members from the non-profit community-based prevention program ‘Work to Ride’; the Parisian dance collective ‘La Marche Bleue; professional rugby player Maro Itoje and family; and musician, producer and fashion designer Edison Chen and Chinese supermodel Qin Shupei.

“The Holiday Run” Virtual Game

And for those gamers out there, a unique digital extension comes to fruition this holiday that aims to punctuate the consumer experience, including a virtual shoppable game. The iconic Polo Bear will take center stage in “The Holiday Run” Game – the bear will race to iconic Ralph Lauren storefronts around the world to collect gifts and discover new products.

Ralph Lauren

The Perfect Holiday Gift

An array of classic Polo shirts, luxurious cable-knit cashmere sweaters, and the newly introduced Custom Packable Jacket will be available from the Create-Your-Own program. Consumers will now have the ability to fully customize an insulated outerwear piece for a one-of-a-kind gift. On the Ralph Lauren App in the US, ‘7 Days, 7 Drops’ will surprise and delight our most loyal Ralph Lauren customers. Additionally, cross Ralph Lauren’s global stores, virtual one-on-one shopping appointments with expert stylists are available, offering tailored trend advice, personalized wardrobe styling and gifting recommendations.

I recently had the privilege to speak with David Lauren, Chief Innovation and Branding Officer and Vice Chairman of the Board about an industry-first partnership with Snapchat, the Create-Your-Own program on Ralphlauren.com and how the brand aims to win over a new generation!

Joseph DeAcetis: In your words, in celebration of optimism and togetherness, in the midst of uncertainty, why have you re-thought your strategy this holiday season? 

David Lauren: The events of this year are truly unprecedented and unlike anything that we’ve collectively ever experienced. And it also brought us together in unforeseen ways. We all have a renewed appreciation for what really matters most – which is love and family and togetherness– and we wanted to celebrate that with a heartfelt and emotional campaign.


Joseph DeAcetis: Describe to the Forbes viewers what is the digital-first approach?

David Lauren: For this holiday season, we created groundbreaking and innovative programs that are digitally native – an AR-enabled flagship store, an industry-first partnership with Snapchat using the scan technology and a shoppable virtual game featuring the iconic Polo Bear. In a world that is becoming more digital by the day, for us it’s all about creating immersive experiences that bring the brand to life in relevant ways and to meet consumers where they are experiencing the brand –online.

Joseph DeAcetis: How does the RL Virtual Store Experience allow consumers to have a holiday heartfelt experience while in a unique modified way?

David Lauren: With the virtual store program, our goal was to reimagine the experience of walking into and shopping a Ralph Lauren retail store though an augmented reality experience– bringing that magic of the holiday shopping season right into your home. For the first time, anyone, anywhere in the world can literally step into some of our most iconic retail stores in New York, Beverly Hills or Paris, and actually shop – it’s pretty incredible. We took great care to showcase every detail of the cinematic retail experience that Ralph Lauren is so well known for – even down to the holiday music playlist.

Joseph DeAcetis: Talk to Forbes about the virtual gaming experience and creating on-demand products?

David Lauren: From a strategic standpoint, our key business priorities are to win over a new generation and to place an emphasis on leading with digital, and we’ve created some unique experiences to support those priorities. Whether you are engaging with and shopping through a whimsical virtual game featuring our iconic Polo Bear or are making your own fully custom jacket through our Create-Your-Own program on Ralphlauren.com, our goal is always to create new ways to experience and shop with Ralph Lauren.

Joseph DeAcetis:·What is your favorite memory of magnificent holiday spirit? 

David Lauren: Truly, the best memories are of being together and spending time with my family!

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