The initiative features equipment for Summer 19, as well as technical apparel for Winter 19, such as its Exposure/2 GORE-TEX collection – a partnership that puts Mountain Hardwear first to develop a user-friendly AR experience for outerwear.
The consumer AR app has already been launched in the US and plans are also underway to offer the app to European consumers.
Robert Wittman, North America Digital Marketing for W.L. Gore & Associates, says: “This is a unique opportunity for us to partner with Mountain Hardwear and continue to build our relationship on both the product and marketing fronts. The use of AR allows both brands to educate retailers on GORE-TEX technology and highlight the design benefits of Mountain Hardwear products in a new, visually exciting way.”
In developing this technology, the team at Mountain Hardwear identified several obstacles in the buying experience that they believe keep customers from getting outside: limited time to spend in retail stores, difficulty of in-store setup, store availability, and guesswork about online assets. Augmented reality alleviates these problems.
While many have been quick to jump on the AR bandwagon, apps commonly have confusing interfaces and low-quality imagery. Mountain Hardwear sought a thoughtfully-applied solution with the highest level of visual fidelity.
With the help of Transparent House, a creative agency based in San Francisco, California, AR renders of Mountain Hardwear products feel as if they’re right in front of you – and you can even get inside tents.
“We believe technology is something that should be thoughtfully applied, not used because it is trendy,” says David Scott Van Woert, Director of Business Development, Mountain Hardwear. “The result is an app that is as enjoyable to look at as it is intuitive to use. But more importantly, it is an app that makes sense.”
These renderings are not only indistinguishable from photography, but they also enable users to toggle easily between environments and features, making it more lifelike than ever.
“We believe the ability to superimpose digital products and information on a user’s actual environment will change retail,” says Snow Burns, VP of Global Marketing at Mountain Hardwear. “We don’t see technology as contrary to getting outside, we see it as an opportunity to enhance the experience.”
The augmented reality app was first launched for both retailers and consumers in the US in January at the Outdoor Retailer Snow Show, where it won a GearJunkie Best in Show Winter Gear Award.
The optimisation of photorealistic visualisation is especially critical for retailers dealing with consumers in the technical products market.
“We have a finite amount of time in our busy days. And as climbers, we’d rather spend those waking moments enjoying what we love,” explains Jeff Brandon, Associate Director of Brand Deployment at Mountain Hardwear.
“This technology enables a more informed gear-shopping experience in a fraction of the time,”
Mountain Hardwear will continue to roll out additional assets to expand its virtual gear closet. Retailers can expect to download a fully-functional app later this year.