Why Retailers Are Using VR/AR To Win At Xmas

Why Retailers Are Using VR/AR To Win At Xmas
November 9, 2018
A John Lewis store at Christmas.JOHN LEWIS


In the UK, we have an unwritten rule - that the countdown to Christmas starts with the release of the John Lewis (a high-end department store) seasonal TV commercial. The retailer’s Christmas advert (usually released around 10th November) has become an annual institution, surrounded by incredible hype. The adverts have also created fierce competition, with other brands and retailers all vying to win the hearts of the nation.


Over the past few years, a number of companies have been using VR and AR, as tie-ins to their ATL advertising, to give them the edge. The promise of exciting new tech-enabled experiences has been used to draw shoppers in-store. Studies have shown that Millennials crave experiences from brands, so it only makes sense that retail juggernauts have been turning to immersive tech to add an extra bit of flair to their offerings.


In 2016, the John Lewis Christmas campaign included two different VR experiences. An in-store Oculus Rift experience that let users interact with the animals that appeared in the advert, plus a 360º video, designed to be viewed at home. John Lewis continued its tech-forward look in 2017, with its ‘Moz the Monster’ campaign, this time creating an AR filter app. With this app, users could transform themselves into the friendly monster, sharing their creations via social media with a bespoke hashtag.

Moz the monster appeared in the John Lewis Christmas commercial in 2017.JOHN LEWIS


Augmenting Christmas

Augmented reality can offer a powerful way to drive engagement at Christmas. From elf selfie filters to build your own digital snowman, consumers can be engaged in-store or in-the-home and, importantly, share with friends. This year, ARKit and ARCore are far more established and brands are making use of Apple and Google’s offerings.

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