SYDNEY — Like the swingy yellow coat on the billboard? Just pull out your cell phone to snag it.

An innovative new digital shopping concept unveiled by Australian fast-fashion chain Sportsgirl allows shoppers to scan items with a smartphone and purchase them directly.

The women’s apparel retailer, which operates 108 stores in Australia, debuted the idea last week. A Sportsgirl flagship on Melbourne’s Chapel Street closed for renovation was plastered in giant billboards featuring images of the brand’s clothes and accessories, with another billboard shop installed in the windows of a Sportsgirl store on Sydney’s well-heeled Oxford Street.

The interactive billboards instruct shoppers to download a QR (quick response) reader application on a smartphone or iPad, so items can be purchased at any time by scanning a QR code, redirecting the shopper to the Sportsgirl mobile store. For all QR purchases, the retailer is touting next day delivery in metropolitan areas and a gift with every purchase — such as a branded yoga mat or a notebook.

Sportsgirl will take the virtual billboards from its own store windows to other key pedestrian trafficked locations, including train and bus stations, universities and shopping malls. Another six billboards are planned to go up in Australian cities over the next few months. Billboards will be updated weekly to showcase the brand’s latest looks. 

Strategic brand manager Prue Thomas said the billboards are targeted to a growing number of customers who like to shop on the run.

“We aim to reach a large audience with this initiative,” Thomas said. “It’s about being able to engage with your customer in a meaningful way in their environment.”

Thomas declined to give sales figures but said since the first window shop launch in Melbourne, Sportsgirl’s digital sales more than doubled in the state of Victoria.

Sportsgirl is among the retailing pioneers of billboard shopping. Last year, British supermarket Tesco set up virtual grocery stores on the walls of Korean train stations. In the fashion arena, online fashion retailer also installed a temporary interactive window shop in London in 2011.

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