March 20, 2017

Smartrac and Spyder turn Apparel into experiences

When international ski and lifestyle brand Spyder announced its all-new U.S. Ski Team collection for this winter season, they weren’t just presenting new jackets. Using Smartrac’s latest NFC technology and future-oriented smart products solution, Spyder created a completely new customer experience.


Back in December 2016, Spyder announced its brand-new U.S. Ski Team (USST) collection. Part of this new solution to enhance on-mountain adventures with Spyder apparel includes specially designed logo patches embedded with Smartrac’s NFC tags featuring NXP’s NTAG 213 ICs. This makes the new outerwear collection Spyder’s first move into wearable technology.

The embedded NFC intelligence is the same technology that powers things like smart cards and Apple Pay. So, users can simply tap on the Spyder logo with their NFC-enabled smartphone or tablet and get instant access to social media content (Twitter, Instagram or YouTube) about the US Ski Team’s world-class athletes. In addition, end customers wearing these jackets in the mountains can tap to get location-based data about weather conditions, trail maps and points of interest – incredibly useful information when you’re out on the slopes.

“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, and it continues to lead our charge in bringing the best possible products to market.” — Julia Hansen, President and CEO of Spyder

“Elevate the skiing and on-mountain experience”
“We are very excited to launch this new technology, which is designed to enhance the skiing and on-mountain experience even further,” said Julia Hansen, President and CEO of Spyder. “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, and it continues to lead our charge in bringing the best possible products to market.”

In this case, “the best possible product” means that the jacket isn’t just a jacket. It’s actively improving the consumer experience.

Innovation – at and after the point of sale
What makes this innovation so compelling isn’t simply the fact that NFC technology turns products into platforms for deeper interaction. By engaging the consumer with the physical product, the relationship can now start in the offline world where, until today, brands could do little to provide their customers with extra value. The vast majority of a consumer’s experiences with products happens offline. It’s where most retail sales still happen and, crucially, it’s where customers actually use most of the products they’ve bought.

So, if a brand wishes to deliver innovative consumer experiences, it’s a very good idea to make sure they already start offline. 

Great demand for end-to-end product digitalization
Brands are increasingly interested in delivering personalized experiences to their customers. “Globally, we see great demand for end-to-end product digitalization, and our products and solutions provide very suitable answers for that. Together with Catalyst and Blue Bite, we are proud and honored that Spyder has selected Smartrac as its technology partner to bring digital services to its brand products, which in return will bring real benefits to its customers,” says Christian Uhl, CEO at Smartrac.

Close cooperation for a pioneering achievement

Spyder’s groundbreaking USST collection can be characterized as a pioneering achievement, made possible by the close cooperation of all partners involved. Catalyst, a Li & Fung company and a global supplier of retail solutions, initiated the program. Blue Bite, a leading IoT company focused on driving digital engagement through physical objects, powers the mobile technology element. Smartrac plans to embed its Experiences solution into multiple product categories beyond outerwear, enabling brands to turn physical products into digital connections, revolutionizing consumer journeys and product lifecycles.

This is the first project that Catalyst and Smartrac have delivered since announcing their partnership in September 2016. Catalyst is in a unique position to champion the digitalization of retail and apparel across Li & Fung’s extensive brand portfolio.



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