Mountain Hardwear, whose parent company is Columbia Sportswear, has launched an augmented reality shopping app featuring its completely redesigned equipment line.
“Our app was designed to help break down those barriers in the shopping experience for technical products, where consumers have to rely on two-dimensional renderings online or sacrifice their time outdoors to visit a store, where it can be a challenge to fully set up these pieces of equipment,” said Jeff Brandon, Associate Director of Brand Development for Mountain Hardwear.
Brandon said the app is a huge step forward in addressing the way Mountain Hardware’s audience of climbers and outdoor enthusiasts shop. They can view products in photo-realistic quality, making it easier to find exactly what they need.
The brand launched the app, its first ever, knowing that its customers were seeking more information about the most technical products, and AR was the ideal vehicle for sharing the details. “Our goal is to provide a more informed buying experience,” said Brandon. “This means less time shopping, less time returning, and more time enjoying the gear.”
Mountain Hardwear worked with Transparent House, a San Francisco-based creative agency to design the app.
Brandon said the app enables users to view multiple products at a time so they can create a customized kit for their specific needs. Users can change product colors and sizes at scale. For instance, they can view a tent in their living room, and then crawl inside to get a sense of the interior space.
“They can even have some fun viewing the product in one of our AR environments, such as a forest, in the snow, in a cave or studio,” said Brandon. “If they want to make a purchase, the app points them to their closest authorized MHW equipment dealer through a locator or brings them to the MHW site.”
While it’s too early to tell whether AR technology is essential for its business, Brandon said it’s important to evolve the buying experience to meet the changing needs and expectations of MHW’s customers. He’s confident the capabilities will take it one step closer to achieving that goal.
“We strive to provide the most accurate and engaging product assets for our customers, so high-quality imagery was an obvious priority from the get go,” he said. “We’ve recently added 360 spins to our equipment product pages on Mountainhardwear.com, which has also supported this effort.”