When is a jacket more than a jacket?

When is a Jacket more than a Jacket?

17th January 2017 | Corey Wilson


It’s never been harder to compete in fashion and retail. Brands are rapidly adopting new technologies to improve consumer experiences and differentiate themselves. But if everyone’s adopting the same digital technologies, how do you stand out?


The key, it turns out, lies in delivering more value to your customers – through the products you’re already selling.


Spyder, a leading ski and performance lifestyle brand decided to confront this challenge by transforming a line of their products. But instead of just improving their customers’ online experience, their innovation starts offline.


Transforming the Jacket’s Consumer Experience

“Our sponsorship of the U.S. Ski team for the past 27 years has been a driving force in our pursuit of technical innovation and superior performance,” says Julia Hansen, President and CEO of Spyder.


Considering this long-standing relationship and its emphasis on innovation, it makes sense that Spyder chose its US ski team collection to unleash a whole new kind of jacket.


The jackets have NFC intelligence embedded in them (the same technology powering things like smart cards and Apple Pay). So when someone taps on the Spyder logo with their smartphone or tablet, they get instant access to social media content about the US ski team, shared on Youtube, Twitter and Instagram.


By tapping on the product offline, they can start to interact with digital content about some of the most famous, world-class athletes – the people pushing the limits of this sport. For a performance brand, that’s a big leap.


It gets better. Once the customer’s bought the jacket and started using it in the mountains, they can tap on the logo to get location-based data about weather conditions, trail maps and points of interest – incredibly useful information when you’re out on the slopes.


“It’s designed to elevate the skiing and on-mountain experience even further,” says Hansen.


Put simply – the jacket isn’t just keeping the skier warm. It’s actively improving the wider experience it’s a part of.


A New Paradigm for Consumer Experience Innovation

What makes this innovation so compelling isn’t simply the fact that NFC technology turns products into platforms for deeper interaction.


It’s that brands like Spyder have realized that if they’re going to differentiate themselves, they have to work harder than all the other brands they’re competing with.


Having a cool product is great. But if you’re going to meaningfully improve your customers’ experiences, you’ve got to be willing to go ahead and interact with them in deeper, more meaningful ways too.


In this case, Spyder chose to not only deliver a great jacket – they’re actively finding new ways to make the jacket the heart of the skiing experience, delivering useful content that helps and social media content that inspires.


Loyalty goes both ways. And brands like Spyder seeking deeper engagements with their customers have realized they need to earn it.


Going forward, Spyder now has a platform to continually improve the way customers interact with their products.


So when is a jacket more than a jacket? When you use it to fundamentally change your customers’ experience.