Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ralph Lauren Launches US QR Code Initiative

Are tech-savvy fashion forward consumers ready to shop by mobile phone?
Ralph Lauren hopes so.

Polo is the first luxury retailer to launch a mobile commerce site, hoping to stay ahead of a trend that is making its way from Asia to the United States, said David Lauren, senior vice president of advertising and son of designer and Chief Executive Ralph Lauren.

Using phones to buy items such as train tickets or products in vending machines is commonplace in Japan, but the trend has yet to catch on in the United States.

"We recognize that in America this is going after somebody who is more comfortable with technology," Lauren told Reuters. "The truth is that in other countries, it's becoming a part of their culture. The trend is coming, and as a fashion company it's very important to identify trends and get ahead of them."

While early adopters of new technologies are often young, Lauren said the move is not aimed at a specific age group.

"This is about someone who's interested in our brand and interested in technology, and wherever the two meet, that's what's appropriate," Lauren said.

The apparel maker will begin placing special 2D codes in print ads, mailings and store windows along with its sponsorship of the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament, which begins later this month.

Shoppers can download the NeoReader to their iPhone, or to their camera enabled cell phone in order to scan the 2D codes, which will direct them to a phone-friendly version of Ralph Lauren's website, where they can shop, watch tennis videos and read company content.

The NeoReader is a free universal code reading application developed by NeoMedia Technologies and Gavitec AG - mobile digit.

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