taj-mall-amman20121212_153547_HDR1Having earned a ‘Genius’ title in our 2013 Digital IQ Index: Department Stores report, it’s no surprise that Marks & Spencer also performed well in our new Middle East rankings, coming in sixth out of 94 luxury brands. The British retailer, which partners with the Saudi Al Hokair Group on all of its Middle East ventures, has a strong presence in the region, with dozens of locations throughout Lebanon, Qatar, UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia–where, alone, it has 12 brick and mortar stores. One of the most adept strategies in our entire report involved M&S’s multichannel approach to drive awareness of the opening of its first store in Jordan, in Amman’s Taj Mall. The centerpiece of the campaign was a “Virtual Closet,” an augmented-reality display where visitors could browse and “try on” clothes, bags and other accessories from the store’s forthcoming collection. To extend the life of the experience, users had the option to capture a photo of themselves and share it on the Marks & Spencer Arabia Facebook page. An accompanying app was also developed and released.

To drive traffic in-store, Marks & Spencer engaged in a range of paid media initiatives: mobile and radio ads, original social media content, SMS offers, and print ads strategically placed around the mall. The integrated approach worked extremely well. Nearly 7,000 women (35 percent of all female visitors) stepped into the Virtual Closet, and 62 percent of the targeted mobile users downloaded the app, which enabled them to scan QR codes on the store’s facade and experience the Marks & Spencer catalog on their mobile device. Nearly 12,000 people shared, liked, or commented on Virtual Closet posts on the M&S Arabia Facebook page, leading to an increase of 19,500 fans in just two weeks. Hoping to replicate the Taj Mall campaign’s success, Marks & Spencer has continued with a similar multichannel approach, most recently in Beirut, in June.

(photos courtesy of Jeleeb.com and Marks & Spencer Arabia’s Facebook page)

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