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October 20, 2017
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Snapshot of the interactive shopping experience at oki-ni's, "The Game" website.

There was a time when the shopping mall was considered "innovation in retail", the sequel to the souks and bazaars of Damascus and Tehran pre-19th century. Wikipedia tells us that the first purposefully built shopping mall was Gostiny Dvor in St. Petersburg, built in 1785. Leisurely shopping took another leap with the advent of suburbia and automobiles, yielding shopping malls away from the hustle and bustle of downtown locales. Today, we have technology to thank for the latest entry in to the retail domain: immersive online shopping. Not to be confused with online shopping. No, online shopping is old news. We have now been introduced to interactive shopping via social gaming and video. Brands that are pushing this new channel strategy want online shoppers to immerse themselves in video shopping, to enable an "it's as if you were there" experience. At best, it can be described as online retail pulling a talented Mr. Ripley on offline retail. 

At best, it can be described as online retail pulling a talented Mr. Ripley on offline retail.

A few but growing number of players are taking part in this retail revolution. Menswear retailer, oki-ni, delivers through their "The Game" video. The Game is an entirely shoppable video experience, allowing online shoppers to browse and purchase featured collections whilst the video is playing. A particular sequence has two men playing a game of table tennis, full movement and all, enabling the shopper to see the clothes in action - a step up from the now seemingly archaic "zoom" and "360 views" of online product displays. Ever the contextual beast, customers can click on an actor at any point in the video to instantly access their look for consideration and purchase.

Around the same time that oki-ni launched The Game, it celebrated its 10th year of business. Originally an online shopping website, selling one of a kind menswear, oki-ni has always been viewed as progressive and cutting edge, evident in the brands it collaborates with, and the innovative projects it develops for the site, such as The Game.

Check out the The Game. Expect to see collections from Our Legacy, Comme Des Garcons, Band of Outsiders and Lacoste, to name a few. And if the collections alone do not tickle your fancy, the soundtrack [Kill A Man With A Joystick by d'Eon Hippos In Tanks] should do the trick.

Not too far in proximity from oki-ni, both online and offline, is fellow UK e-retailer, Asos. Asos developed a similar concept to oki-ni's The Game, whereby online shoppers can watch an interactive video of street performers cutting a carpet, so to speak, in a warehouse. The format is pretty much the same, a lot of action, a fantastic soundtrack and instant access to the clothes in motion. When a street performer is clicked on, he is separated from the rest of the pack so you can see an individual performance, more information about him and links to buy his outfit. 

Street performer freezes motion once selected by user.

ASOS' Urban Tour debut was part of its Fall/Winter 2011 collection campaign, featuring culture, music, art and fashion trends from Paris, Tokyo, London, Shanghai, New York, Los Angeles and Berlin. Advertising agency, BBH London, was the creative agent behind this project.

Check out ASOS Urban Tour and indulge in what capital cities of culture, art, music and fashion are offering up in this interactive performance-cum-shopping piece.

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