NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- When iPads went on sale this spring, retail and agency execs buzzed about the implications for retail. The tablets, they said, had huge potential as interactive catalogs, personal shopping assistants and point-of-sale systems. Now, those predictions are coming to fruition.
Puma is poised to have one of the most extensive in-store iPad solutions, among retailers, with the rollout of its new customization platform, Creative Factory. Billed as a seven-figure investment, the concept, developed by Spies & Assassins, a unit of Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal & Partners, revolves around the iPad and replaces a prior customization program dubbed "Mongolian BBQ."
"Puma is passionate about tapping into the creative energy of our consumers and we want our products to stimulate and enhance that urge to create," said Adam Petrick, senior head-global brand management at Puma. "The new Creative Factory for iPad is a great in-store platform for facilitating co-creation between Puma and people who love our brand."
In the store, a wooden table is scattered with materials used to build two of Puma's classic shoe styles, the "First Round" and the "Basket." A pole with three telescoping arms emerges from the center of the table; an iPad is bolted to the end of each arm. Customers use the materials on display as inspiration and then use the iPads to actually design the shoes. When the design is complete, it is sent to a fourth "administrative" iPad at the cash register.
Once a store employee processes the transaction, the order is released to the factory and its status is updated and tracked through an administrative app. In the next 12 to 24 months, other categories, such as bags, T-shirts and jackets, are expected to be added to the program.
The concept hits stores this month, first in 15 cities in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In 2011, it will begin rolling out in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world. For now, the app is focused simply on the design of the shoe. But in the coming months the ability to share designs via Facebook and other social-media sites will be activated. Customers will be able to see who designed different shoes, where that person lives and how many other people have bought the design. Designs can be tagged and searched.