When sports fans around the world found themselves unable to support their favorite teams in person as a result of COVID-19, English team Ipswich Town Football Club got creative.
Lee Hyde, Director of Retail at Ipswich, partnered with Matterport scanning experts Visual Immersion to bring the Official Ipswich Town FC superstore, Planet Blue, to the digital world. The two-story building offers the League One team's full merchandise range and features a one-of-kind view of the stadium pitch. While the virtual store allows visitors to shop from home, they can also explore and learn about the history of the team in an interactive tour.
We chatted with Ryan Becker, managing director at Visual Immersion, to learn more about the project that would allow Ipswich Town fans to feel more connected while waiting for the day they could cheer from the stands again.
Q. What inspired the 3D capture of Ipswich Town FC?
I was approached by Lee Hyde, Director of Retail at Ipswich, to create a virtual store for the club. We found we had a shared vision in wanting to create a space for the fans of Ipswich Town to explore, enjoy and shop from home while they were unable to visit both the stadium and the Planet Blue superstore in person due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The club had also recently invested in refitting aspects of the superstore, however, guests were now unable to visit it.
Q. What are the must-sees you want visitors to explore, and why?
There are so many! I love the Bobby Robson video located by the stadium view on the first floor of the shop. I think this is a real must-see, as the view from the window into the stadium is stunning and the quote from Bobby is brought to life with a video celebrating his accomplishments.
I also love the way that you can click on the mannequins and it takes you into the customization hub so that you can get your favorite player’s name on your shirt.
Q. What’s the one thing you want visitors to take away after exploring the store?
The virtual store is more than just a way to view and purchase products. It’s an interactive, fully immersive tour into the football club, celebrating both its present and past glories.
Q. I bet it has been hard with fans not being able to attend games and shop freely. How has the success rate been with purchases using the “shop here” feature?
It’s been a huge success. Not only has it driven sales to fans across the country and beyond, but it’s also provided full insight into the new store layout and product categories. The tour was viewed and shopped by over 5% of the population of Ipswich!
Q. What are the advantages of a 3D tour of the space compared to an in-person visit?
The 3D tour allows fans of the club globally (many of whom will never visit the stadium or the store) to explore both as well as see the stadium pitch. The additional content provided by Lee for the tour gives the fans a deeper, richer immersion into the club and all of its heritage.