On Friday afternoon, intern Annika and I went on a shopping trip to the Ralph Lauren Rugby store in Manhattan to check out their new interactive display (others are coming soon to Rugby’s Georgetown and Boston stores). At first we were a little confused about how it worked (partially because our iPhone was having network issues), but now that we understand it, we’re pretty sure this will develop into the future of shopping.
First, download QR reader software on your smartphone. A QR code is a super high-tech bar code that holds more info than a regular bar code. Now, all phones aren’t supported at this point — visit m.ralphlauren.com to check if your phone is compatible and download the reader.
Once you have the reader on your phone, you just use it to scan any QR codes you see, like the ones on the giant touchscreen on the outside of the Rugby store. Your phone will be directed to that item on Rugby’s website, and you can buy it right there while you’re standing on the sidewalk.
You might be thinking, why would I absolutely have to buy something right then and there? We’ve thought of some situations you might be in that would deem this technological shopping system useful.
- You’re walking your dog past the Rugby store late at night and fall in love with an item in their window display and cannot wait until the store opens to make your purchase (or would totally forget to go back and buy it the next day when the store is open).
- You get claustrophobic in crowded stores but like to see the items in person before buying. So, you could take a quick spin around the store before going outside to use the interactive display to make your purchases.
- You don’t have a computer at home and use your iPhone for absolutely everything, including online shopping.
While not glitch-free as of yet, it’s pretty awesome that Rugby is taking the step into using QR codes, because in other countries, they’ve infiltrated all aspects of life. In Japan, they appear on everything from advertisements to food wrappers and direct users to websites where they can get more information immediately. We’re hoping Rugby and other designers take their use of QR codes one step further and print them on all of their clothes’ tags, so whenever we like a friend’s shirt, we can just scan the tag and immediately purchase the item. Only then our friends might get annoyed with us stealing their style.