A New Take on the Digital Photo Booth

A European shopping mall converted its digital display into an interactive, augmented reality digital photo booth, and consumers responded. The photo spot attracts customers, which increases business, and provides the store with insightful shopper analytics.


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Image credit: Broox Technologies

Getting a customer’s attention for events such as visiting Santa at a shopping mall has been a mainstay during every holiday season. But this year, everything changed. Instead of the usual festivities, retail stores and malls began to offer their customers engaging digital virtual experiences. 

One company providing that technology is Broox Technologies, which developed an interactive digital signage solution with augmented reality that brings to life digital displays, essentially creating a digital photo booth. The platform uses embedded cameras and people recognition technology and generates a mixed reality digital photo. Users can then scan a QR code and download and keep the image.

Blending the Digital and the Physical

The platform can recognize 3D objects and standard-format animations, as well as 2D video with transparency, which allows operators to offer digital images with real-life objects, animated imagery, virtual celebrities, and even red-suited gift givers. The interactive capabilities enable consumers to play games, and an optional add-on supports Snapchat-style face filters.

Broox combines the benefits of digital commerce and physical stores in what it calls a “phygital” software platform. The Broox framework is a cross-platform, scalable infrastructure built on the Intel® Distribution of OpenVINO™ toolkit. It uses artificial intelligence, including computer vision and sensors, to identify objects and gather demographic information about people, such as age and gender. To maintain privacy, personal customer characteristics are processed at the edge, so only metadata is sent to the cloud.

That data can trigger events in software and audio-visual applications to provide personalized outreach to shoppers. Users who scan the QR code can receive product information or in-store coupons as they approach specific items. These customized product offers have to potential to increase sales revenues by 5 to 15 percent. Another study finds that 70 percent of companies that use advanced personalized market tactics have earned 200 percent or more return on their investment. 

People walking floor and viewing digital image of photo booth

Image credit: Broox Technologies

Images and Insights

Stores are using the digital photo booth concept to generate attention and draw shoppers to their stores. In Andorra, a shopping mall worked with Broox to turn its existing cameras and digital displays into an interactive photo booth with remarkable success. Passersby can interact with the video displays, and users who download the QR code can take pictures of themselves virtually petting jungle cats.

The unique photo spot was so popular that it generated 30,000 interactions. Traffic to the mall increased  by 7 percent and resulted in more than 4,500 contacts from visitors in the first three weeks, making it the mall’s most successful marketing campaign.

The Rebirth of In-person Shopping

Brick-and-mortar stores are increasing the wow factor of the customer shopping experience as digital commerce grows. Digital displays will be critical to that success.

According to Grandview Research, the global market for digital signage was nearly $21.5 billion in 2020, and it’s expected to climb at a CAGR of 7.5 percent through 2028. The retail sector is the biggest user, with about 20 percent of that market. In-store displays account for the largest revenue share, more than 72 percent in 2020. Analysts predict the market will continue to grow with increased demand for digitized product promotion and 4K digital sign displays with embedded software and media players.

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