Polo Ralph Lauren Makes Window Shopping a Reality

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Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. (RL) is taking impulse shopping one step farther with technology that allows passersby to purchase clothing they see in the windows of one of its New York stores by tapping on the glass.

Projected on the window of the Ralph Lauren Madison Avenue store is a 67-inch image of items including polo shirts and tennis ball boy or ball girl uniforms. Customers can shop even when the store is closed by clicking on the window glass.

The Steven Spielberg futuristic movie "Minority Report" inspired the window.

"I really wanted to find a way to make that amazing technology a retail reality," said company senior vice president David Lauren, in a statement.

The company is using the buzz around the display to promote its line of tennis apparel, in conjunction with its sponsorship of the 2006 U.S. Open. The company is also the exclusive outfitter of the Wimbledon tennis tournament, through 2010.

Customers attracted to the sporty tennis clothes they see can purchase them using a credit card swiper mounted to the outside of the window.

A projector beams the images onto the window pane from the inside of the shop, while a thin touch foil mounted on the glass powers the touch screen. The store plans to keep the display up through September 10, though if it succeeds in boosting sales or buzz significantly, Polo Ralph Lauren will roll out the window displays to other stores, a spokesman said.