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When I was a kid, riding trolleys down supermarket aisles and giving my twin brother beats in public were the symptoms of my boredom at the local Tesco or Asda.

That was before ‘retail-tainment’ involved the smartphone or tablet.

The supermarket is the perfect crucible for 'retail-tainment'. Outside of big cities, supermarkets are captive markets, often entailing a long visit with the family, and competing with rival stores on a weekly basis.

Winning the battle to keep kids obedient or event interested in store would be a boon for any supermarket chain.

At the moment, there are supermarkets such as Asda that are synonymous with family, but none that have mastered retailtainment. More apps and in-store challenges with rewards will provide an effective antidote to the rogue use of toys by children that then abandon them in the bakery aisle.

Asda is using Zappar to offer kids the chance to be greeted by Sir Spook in 400 of its stores. Combined with some physical events, pumpkin carving and the like, they're aiming to be the family supermarket at Halloween.

Spook will guide them round the store on a ‘haunted hunt’, with riddles to be solved and trapdoors to be found in order to tick off a virtual shopping list.

The app is free, and successful gamers will get a free gift in store as well as the chance to win £100. There’s also an augmented reality (AR) enabled edition of the Asda magazine. 

Asda are not newcomers to AR, having trialled a similar scheme over Easter

Steph Hughes, Head of Events Marketing at Asda commented: 

The feedback from shoppers following the Easter events was just fantastic. We're excited to roll out more fun for parents and kids this Halloween with even more going on in stores.

This feels like another good use for augmented reality. The zappable magazine is one of the best use cases for AR – it’s static, designed for use at home and embellishes what could be a dry magazine, making it appeal to different demographics (children being key to Asda’s success). 

This is another good use of mobile in retail. While there is no obvious sales driver such as coupons here, the very act of making the in-stote experience more enjoyable for children and this easier parents has its own benefits. Parents are more likely to spend more time in store, perhaps increasing basket values as a result. 

Ben Davis

Published 21 October, 2013 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is a senior writer at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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