How the iconic brand, that showcases timeless style, is exhibiting that the time for digital is now

Obviously, online shopping has significantly increased during the pandemic, but now even more so as we enter the holiday season. Brands are focusing all their energy on e-commerce, and some are being forced to restructure their identity. Ralph Lauren, as a timeless classic, has now entered the digital age and did so with effortless grace (are we surprised?).

Ralph Lauren has begun using technology to its advantage, from Snapchat integrations, virtual stores, and gaming. As many of us have created our own personal Bitmoji on Snapchat, we want them to look their best. Ralph Lauren’s line of clothing is now available in the Bitmoji closet, giving our digital selves a “preppy” look. This is just one of many ways that luxury brands are beginning to gain attention through Apps and online fashion gaming.

An even more impressive Snapchat X Ralph Lauren partnership involves the integration of a scannable Polo Pony Logo. The company claims this as itsfirst-ever combination of AR and fabric”. Customers are able to scan the Polo pony and rider with Snapchat and immediately be brought to an augmented reality Ralph Lauren experience. An example includes being brought to a lens with beautifully wrapped RL gifts with red ribbons. 'Snapchatters' can tap on these boxes to view different logos and ribbons, taking selfies and then sending to friends. This partnership plans to continue beyond the holidays, with the digital experience changing with the seasons.

This innovation of marketing is needed for many luxury brands, Ralph Lauren being one of them. As with the pandemic, retail was hit hard. Last year, it was reported that Ralph Lauren brought in $182 million in comparison to $39 million for this year. This discretion in sales has pushed the company to fully embrace digital in an effort to recover some of the losses.

As fewer customers are shopping in-person, virtual stores have gained quick popularity. Ralph Lauren joined the venture and first opened the 'Ralph Lauren Beverly Hills Virtual Store', an augmented virtual reality experience. As you click to enter the store, classical Christmas music begins playing in the background. The entrance is decorated with beautiful red roses, wreaths, and lanterns (timelessly classic as always). You are then able to navigate through the store by clickable arrows on the floor, directing you to different retail sections. Most items are matched with a clickable link, allowing you to view details, price, and instantly shop.

Unsure how to find what you’re looking for in a virtual store? No employee needed here. Ralph Lauren has provided a directory on the site, allowing you to venture in and out of a variety of rooms showcasing different items, such as shoes, jewellery, clothing, fragrances, and the children’s section. Just in time for the holidays, the New York City, Paris, and Hong Kong virtual stores were all launched today.

Still...Snapchat prep and an elegant virtual store were not enough. To enhance the consumer’s online experience, Ralph Lauren has also integrated games into its website. The “Bear Game”, titled 'The Holiday Run', allows you to navigate the infamous Ralph Lauren Bear as he adventures through different cities. You’re immediately invited to choose the city for your bear, such as London, Tokyo, or New York City. The bear then runs through the city, collecting Christmas ornaments as points, jumping for beautifully wrapped gifts, dodging Christmas trees, and even skateboarding and skiing down the street.

Lauren himself shares in this new mission of digitalisation, stating “Our goal is to meet consumers where they’re experiencing the brand, which is increasingly in the digital space and online…... One of our key business priorities is to lead with digital and place emphasis on ‘connected retail’. Ideas like bringing our stores to life through an AR experience are just one of the ways we’re transforming and innovating.”

All of these characteristically elegant digital experiences can be found via Snapchat or the Ralph Lauren site.

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