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Brief Published: 29 Jul 2013

Argos Trials Interactive AR Catalogue


Argos, the UK’s largest general goods retailer, made its first move into the realm of digital publishing this weekend as it launched a digitally interactive printed catalogue.

Argos has teamed up with augmented reality (AR) app Blippar to bring static, printed images to life on its readers’ smartphones and tablets. Using Blippar’s image recognition technology, the device’s camera picks up on ‘blippable’ pictures and opens video demonstrations, ‘how-to’ guides, photo galleries, competitions and weblinks on-screen in response, adding an additional, virtual layer to the reading experience.

The technology also directs consumers from the catalogue to the retailer’s extended online range, where they can purchase products or Check & Reserve for in-store collection.

Bertrand Bodson, Argos’ digital director, told online news publication the Retail Bulletin: “Using Blippar’s image recognition platform, we’ve been able to build a bridge between our traditional physical publication and the digital world. It’s about creating a more interactive and joined-up shopping experience for our customers.”

This collaboration is yet another example of how retail and publishing are converging in order to minimise the ‘dropping off’ point between a customer seeing a product and purchasing it. Stylus explores this trend further in the Shoppable Content: Publishing section of our Anywhere Retailing industry trend.

Argos is not the first retailer to harness AR to monetise its marketing materials; for Christmas 2012, fast-fashion retailers New Look and Forever 21 both utilised this technology to create their own interactive, shoppable magazines. See Digital Christmas, 2012: Holiday Retailing for more on these projects.