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Ralph Lauren Invests in a 4-D "Merch-tainment" Spectacle, Profits Aren't Far Behind

Despite his penchant for all things classic and traditional, Ralph Lauren's a pretty innovative guy. And not only because he found a clever way to sell American hamburgers to Parisians. This time, Polo Ralph Lauren (RL) is taking a four dimensional leap into e-commerce to commemorate the 10th anniversary of The futuristic spectacle is more Hollywood than haute couture. However, by blurring the lines between film, fashion, art, architecture, and of course, retail, Lauren's poised to blow up his $200 million segment and generate even more epic revenues.

It's estimated that 1,000 people will bear witness to the groundbreaking 10 minute visual feast taking place at Lauren's just-opened flagship women's store on Madison Avenue and on London's New Bond Street. The 4-D presentation wields architectural video mapping which Lauren's son David along with his digital team, encountered in Amsterdam. The 3-D images (no glasses required, although wouldn't it be cool to have pony-logoed pair?) are accompanied by sound effects and surrounded by Lauren's signature fragrance â€" thus the fourth dimension.

Lauren's crew teamed with 100 techies who worked on the Harry Potter flicks to create a series of images of both stores being constructed brick-by-brick. Once completed, the doors open, models stride powerfully through, then give way to such iconic visuals as polo players and the accessory that started it all â€" the necktie.

There's no doubt that a spectacle of this magnitude is going to draw plenty of attention and raise RL's brand profile that much higher. The simultaneous showing in London coincides with the launch of e-commerce in the U.K., after all.

But it's the combination of customer service -- a component that RL's invested heavily in -- and continually introducing new shopping convenienes (think the 2008 m-commerce launch which made Polo the first upscale U.S. retailer using bar code swipes for sales) that add up to the big pay-off. For those who can't witness the event in person, it'll be online on 11/11. Can't you just hear the furious clicking as shoppers navigate the site in the aftermath of the presentation? Let's hope RL's servers are equipped to handle the overload of traffic.

No fashion designer or retailer has tried this 4-D extravaganza yet and it's doubtful anyone but a luxury house will billion dollar revenues would have the resources to pull it off. So once again, Ralph Lauren's ponies are way ahead of the competition and likely to stay in the lead for some time.

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