August 24, 2006, 12:00 AM

At NY Polo store, window shoppers touch the glass to make a purchase

Polo Ralph Lauren has turned sci-fi into sci-fact, unveiling an interactive shopping experience that enables window shoppers to shop online by touching window glass using touch-sensitive technology.

E-commerce sites enable consumers to shop their favorite stores 24/7. At Polo Ralph Lauren’s Madison Avenue store in New York, shoppers now can do the same-even though the store isn’t open 24/7-by using touch-sensitive windows.

Polo Ralph Lauren has unveiled an interactive shopping experience that enables window shoppers to shop on windows. A 67-inch image that employs touch-sensitive technology is projected on the window of the store. Consumers can shop at any time during the day by touching “keys” on the glass.

The system uses a satellite link to the multi-channel retailer’s e-commerce site, where all window-based transactions are processed just like web site transactions. In addition to purchasing products, shoppers can watch online video content on the window.

“After watching the film Minority Report, I really wanted to find a way to make that amazing technology a retail reality,” says David Lauren, senior vice president of advertising, marketing and corporate communications. In the film, police access computer networks and files on thin, vertical sheets of glass. “We are reinventing the concept of shopping anytime.”

The touch-screen is powered by a lightweight touch foil applied directly to the glass; a rear projection screen is then used to complete through-window touch shopping. The Madison Avenue window shopping installation will be accessible to the public from August 7 through September 10; it is being used to promote tennis apparel in conjunction with the U.S. Open tennis tournament.

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