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11/03/2022

Hudson’s Bay connects holiday windows to interactive AR experience

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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The Bay and Meta
Hudson's Bay is virtually connecting shoppers to its holiday window display.

Hudson’s Bay Co. is using augmented reality (AR) to bring customers “inside” the holiday window display of its downtown Toronto store.

Canada’s oldest department store retailer is unveiling its annual five-window holiday display in its Queen Street, Toronto store. For the first time, a digital extension supported by Meta Spark technology will enable consumers to virtually “step inside” the windows from anywhere across Canada.

To immerse themselves in the digital window experience, customers can scan a unique QR code which can be found at select Hudson’s Bay stores, on social media channels of Hudson Bay Co.’s The Bay e-commerce platform, on The Bay gift cards, and on packages ordered on TheBay.com throughout the holiday season.

[Read more: Hudson’s Bay stores, e-commerce separating to create two businesses]

Customers can point the camera of their smartphone at a surface and click the QR code to activate the AR experience. Once “inside,” device motion and screen interactions enable consumers to explore elements from all five of the holiday windows using both the front and rear cameras on their smartphones.

Consumers can also share a photo or video using the AR experience on Instagram or Facebook Story by tagging @hudsonsbay and using the hashtag #MyBayHolidayWindow for a chance to win one of five $1,000 gift cards to shop in-store and on TheBay.com.

The physical window display includes the following animatronic vignettes:

  • Snow-Making Department: “Frozen flakes" come to life, and passersby can snap photos in adult and kid-sized cutouts on the exterior of the windows.
  • Candy Cane Department: A look at how candy canes are made and packaged with a robotic arm before being dropped into queue to be sent in Santa’s sleigh and delivered to the children of the globe.
  • Gifting Department: A glimpse into all of the parcels being wrapped, sorted and packed by robots working in sync to keep up with the flow of presents coming down the conveyor belt. New technology allows onlookers to press a button on the glass and one robot will give them a high-five and take a selfie.
  • Ornament-Making Department: A snapshot of how some signature ornaments are painted and detailed. A giant mechanical hand selects each color to be applied before the ornaments are finished.
  • Mail-Room Department: The inner workings of the technology used to scan, sort and process all of Santa’s letters. A giant computer spits out a list of names while a map of the globe gives Santa directions to find all the boys and girls around the world.

“For more than 100 years, these holiday windows have been quintessential to the Toronto experience,” says Alexander Meyer, chief customer officer at The Bay. “With the digital transcendence of this year's windows, we are creating a whole new level of connectivity for our customers, not only in Toronto but throughout Canada.”

The Bay operates thebay.com featuring Marketplace, one of the largest premium digital commerce platforms in Canada, with a seamless connection to a network of 84 Hudson's Bay stores.