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What Else Can You Do With an RFID Fashion Label?

Don't use RFID just for logistics and inventory management. Here are a few ways in which retailers can employ the technology to provide new services to their customers.
By Kurt Bischof

One Label—Multiple Use Cases
Although retailers are currently employing RFID labels primarily for inventory management, they can build upon the installed hardware and software base to offer additional services to their customers, thereby making the business case for RFID adoption even more attractive to store operators. Described below are a few common customer profiles, as well as their respective RFID applications and use cases.

Young and Playful: Collect and redeem loyalty points. Participate in daily store lottery games (for example, shopper number 100 receives a free lipstick set). Provide instant style ratings by posting your opinion about the latest design in the store.

Cool and Stylish Professional: Verify product authenticity before purchasing. Use the stylish jacket from brand XYZ as an entrance ticket for after-business clubbing. Socialize with other XYZ wearers on Facebook.

Working Mom or Dad: View washing instructions. Learn the average shrink rate following the first washing cycle. Save time via self-checkout and paying directly at the RFID kiosk.

Environmentally and Socially Concerned: Learn what a product is made of. Find out how and where it was produced. Download recycling instructions for that product.

All Types of Customers: Are there any special price promotions currently going on? Are there bulk discounts, if you already have a lot of products in your basket? If you couldn't find your size, is it available somewhere on the sales floor or in the back room? See a professional model wearing a garment that interests you. See yourself wearing it. Does it contain any materials you are allergic to?

Get Onboard
It would be a pity to have a big RFID rollout in place, but to use the labels only for logistics and inventory-management purposes. At the end of the day, I am convinced that consumers will embrace the technology as much in fashion stores as they already do in other areas in which life without RFID is almost unthinkable.

Isn't that all far off in the future, you may ask? Well, some retailers are more innovative than others. Don't miss the train.

Kurt Bischof is the global senior marketing manager of RFID tagging for NXP Semiconductors' division in Austria.

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